The first Airbus A350-900 for Air India has officially entered commercial service.
The aircraft will be deployed on international services once domestic flights. These domestic flights are essential for crew training and familiarisation with the newly delivered widebody.
Once these steps are completed successfully for Air India, the airline will deploy the A350 on international flights.
The First Flight
Registered as VT-JRA departed from Bengaluru Kempegowda Airport (BLR) at 0705 with an arrival at Mumbi Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport (BOM) at 0850.
The aircraft subsequently operated further services throughout the day, including a 1005 departure from Mumbai towards Chennai International Airport (MAA).
In what would be a busy first day for commercial operations, the aircraft would perform flights towards Hyderabad, too, following more domestic flights. The aircraft would indeed hop around India.
A New Era
For Air India, the Airbus A350’s entry into commercial operations represents a significant step toward becoming an industry leader.
Much has to change to achieve this status, but introducing new and efficient widebody aircraft such as the A350-900 is a step in the right direction.
The A350s come equipped with a new cabin, new livery, and a fresh feel to the Air India brand, which has sustained substantial damage across the past decade in what is described as quite the fall from grace.
Air India’s acquisition of these Airbus A350s so early was made possible thanks to this first A350 destined initially for Aeroflot; however, due to restrictions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, deliveries were no longer permitted, thus freeing up aircraft.
The Indian flag carrier has commitments for the A350-900 and orders for the A350-1000, the high-capacity variant.
More Aircraft Orders
Air India doesn’t just have commitments in place for the A350 series. Tata Group in 2023 splurged tens of billions into new aircraft.
These orders were placed for Airbus and Boeing wide and narrowbody aircraft. Once delivered, each aircraft will serve a different purpose. Deals included the 787, a top-up for an aircraft the airline already flies. However, new aircraft such as the 777X and A350 have been included.
Meanwhile, the A320neo family and the 737 MAX were ordered for narrowbody requirements. This significant financial investment includes new cabins, a new livery, airport enhancements, crew changes, and more to turn around the company.