Both carriers will initially deploy their new aircraft on domestic routes before using them on international services.
Air China and Sichuan Airlines have become the first Chinese airlines to operate the Airbus A350-900 aircraft, after taking delivery of the widebody aircraft on August 8–an auspicious date representing prosperity and success in Chinese culture.
Initially, both carriers will deploy their new aircraft on domestic routes before using them on international services.
Air China’s A350 has been configured with three classes and a total of 312 seats. Its business class cabin features 32 seats laid out in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone format, allowing all passengers direct aisle access, while the premium economy cabin has 24 seats laid out 2-4-2. Finally, the economy cabin offers 256 seats in a nine-abreast configuration.
The first of Air China’s A350 fleet took flight from Toulouse to Beijing overnight, featuring its all-new business class seats, which is the Super Diamond model from B/E Aerospace as seen on airlines such as Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways, and American Airlines.
In comparison, Sichuan Airlines’ A350 offers two classes, with 28 seats in business and 303 in economy. Sporting a special panda-themed livery, it is the first of four that it will lease from AerCap. That said, the carrier has confirmed an order with Airbus to purchase an additional 10.