Updated January 18th, 2024 at 15:16 IST

Wings India 2024: Air India's fleet addition gives country's aviation sector its first Airbus A350

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated the first Airbus A350 aircraft.

Reported by: Business Desk
Air India Airbus A350 | Image:Air India
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Air India Airbus A350 at Wings India: The much-anticipated first major aircraft inauguration of Tata-owned Air India was the key highlight on the first day of "Wings India 2024" exhibition being held at Hyderabad from January 18-21. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated first Airbus A350 aircraft. "This not only marks the arrival of a state-of-the-art aircraft to Air India's fleet, but also signifies India's growing stature as a major player in the global aviation industry," said an official statement.

A350 is a gamechanger: Wilson 

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In a statement, Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India said the A350 is a gamechanger for Air India. "It will not only elevate our passenger experience but also open up new routes and opportunities for expansion. Together with the full interior refit of our legacy widebody aircraft commencing mid-2024, this upgradation of fleet and product is a key pillar of returning Air India to the upper echelons of world aviation" the Air India chief said.

The arrival of the A350 coincides with a period of rapid growth and transformation for Air India, said a statement of the airline. "Under the leadership of the Tata Group, the airline is undergoing a comprehensive transformation, aimed at renewing its fleet, expanding its global route network, enhancing its service offerings, and regaining its position as a global aviation leader," it said.

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Passenger experience

Equipped with powerful and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the Airbus A350 delivers optimal performance, environmental benefits, and superior passenger comfort. Its impressive range of up to 9,700nm (18,000 km) enables non-stop flights from India to destinations in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

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The A350 offers wider cabins, larger windows, mood lighting, and advanced entertainment systems, and comes with world-class cabin products, setting a new benchmark for passenger experience on Indian airlines. Air India’s A350-900 comes with 316 seats in a three-class cabin configuration.

Luxe business Business class aboard Air India’s A350-900 features 28 private suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, each boasting direct aisle access and sliding privacy doors. At the touch of a button, the suite chairs convert into full-sized beds, becoming guests’ own private cocoons in the sky. The airline claims that each suite has a personal wardrobe and ample stowage space for electronic devices, amenities, and shoes, as well as a conveniently located mirror, catering to travellers' needs. 21-inch HD touchscreen and video handset provide an immersive entertainment experience. 

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Upscale, comfortable economy As per the company, exclusive premium economy cabin on Air India’s A350-900 has 24 wide seats arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration, offering ample legroom with 38 inches of seat pitch, 18.5 inches of seat width, and 8-inch recline. Each seat has a 4-way adjustable headrest and leg rest with a foot paddle for customised comfort, and a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, and universal AC and USB-A power outlets, the company has said. As per Air India, the economy class has 264 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration, each with 31 inches of seat pitch, 17.5 inches of seat width, and 6 inches of recline, 4-way adjustable headrest, and a 12-inch HD touchscreen for a comfortable, yet stylish flying experience that delivers value for money.

Entering commercial service

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Air India’s A350 enters commercial service on 22 January 2024, initially operating domestically for crew familiarisation on flights to/from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. The aircraft will be subsequently deployed on international routes.

The first A350 of the many arriving Air India’s first A350, registered VT-JRA, is the first of Air India’s 20 Airbus A350-900 on order, with five more scheduled for deliveries through March 2024. Air India’s firm orders for 250 new aircraft with Airbus include 20 A350-1000 as well, the company statement added.

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 15:12 IST