Vietnam Airline has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft on June 30th 2015 in Toulouse, France. This aircraft is the first of 14 A350-900 ordered from Airbus part of major plan to revamp the long haul fleet product. Qatar Airways is the only other carrier to date having received a A350XWB.
The new aircraft is actually 1 of 4 aircraft that will be operated under lease while the 10 remaining orders will be financed by the carriers. Dutch lessor AerCap has been identified as the owner of this particular aircraft.
The Vietnamese national carrier has configured the 305-seats aircraft in a 3 class arrangement consisting of 29 fully flat beds Business Class seats along with 45 Premium Economy seats and 231 Economy seats. Following a two-months familiarization on the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City route, the A350 will be deployed on the Hanoi – Paris daily route this coming September replacing the 6 times weekly Boeing 777-200-operated flights. On this route, the aircraft promises to immediately bring tremendous commercial pressure to bear on rival carrier Air France. The comfortable state of the art jet can operate at a 25% fuel advantage against Air France’s 777-200ER.
The Vietnamese carrier long haul fleet future bet has already been aggressively hedged between selecting the better of two competing products as the coming months will also see Airbus A350’s rival Boeing 787-9 arrive.