Newly-released pictures from Airbus show Fiji Airways’ first A350 XWB in the airline’s striking livery as it rolls out from the pian shop in Toulouse.
The A350-900 will be the first of its kind operated by an airline in the South Pacific region and is seen on its way to the final phase of the assembly process to have engines fitted before starting ground and flight tests.
Fiji’s new aircraft will feature 33 Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, fully lie-flat Business Class beds, with each offering direct aisle access.
Economy Class sports 301 Recaro CL3710 seats, which the airline says are ranked among the most comfortable long-haul economy class seats on the market.
The aircraft will be deployed in January 2020 to Sydney and Los Angeles and is part of an ambitious growth plan at the South Pacific airline.
It is one of two new A350 XWB which will complement Fiji Airways’ existing widebody fleet of six Airbus A330s.
The second plane is due to be delivered in December this year.
The long-range capabilities of the A350 will give Fiji Airways a significant efficiency boost as well as provide the opportunity of targeting new destinations not previously available to it.
The plane takes advantage of the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines to deliver a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions as well as lower maintenance costs.
There are 257 Airbus A350s in the skies around the world today, flown by 24 operators. These include Fiji Airways’ partner oneworld airlines: Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.
Other A350 operators include Hong Kong Airlines, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The ultra-long-range version of the aircraft is also a contender for Qantas’ Project Sunrise to launch non-stop flights from Eastern Australia to London and New York.
In other news, Fiji announced this week that it was leasing a Boeing 737-800 from Malindo Air due to the extended grounding of its two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Malindo Air will operate flights on behalf of the South Pacific airline from September 16 between Nadi and Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland and Christchurch.
Fiji said the temporary wet lease arrangement would ensure minimum disruption to guests and the plane’s configuration was similar to its own