Like the 787 before it the A350 is opening up new route options for its customers.
This week China Airlines became the first Taiwanese airline to begin direct flights to London Gatwick- there are no slots at Heathrow. It’s recently started non-stops to Rome and Paris – and it’s all down to the range and speed of the new Airbus.
Lufthansa is starting to fly the A359 to Tokyo from Munich replacing the A340-600’s as they are gradually phased out at roughly 60% less in fuel costs.
Qatar is using the aircraft on increasingly longer direct flights, Malaysia Airlines sole purpose is to fly the London Route replacing the much larger A380.
Some airlines are staying within their more traditional routes and using the aircraft on mid haul routes – not because they lack imagination but because it’s economy is superior to anything else flying and it can take more passengers more frequently.
Finnair has been using its A350’s to reach into Asia and boost its specialist approach to being the ultimate in Asia-European travel. This includes using them on busy peak Heathrow slots and transferring those customers at Helsinki.
In the next two years A350’s will start to appear in Virgin Atlantic’s inventory but it’s unlikely to be used on new routes; the first five -1000’s will be allocated to Heathrow and operate dense routes like San Francisco and Los Angeles, Miami and New York, effectively replacing the A346’s and working the old ‘Heathrow Five’ 744 routes. Later aircraft will replace 744’s at Gatwick.
British Airways -1000’s will be used the same way, they’re all about replacing 744’s.
As the pace of deliveries quickens it’s the smaller airlines who seem to be looking at newer routes and opportunities. Air Mauritius, Air Caraibes, for example see the A359 as opening up their all year round holiday destinations to more than the limited routes of London or Paris. There are other markets in the US and Europe that offer lucrative opportunities – New York, China, Australia to name a few.
The A359 is slowly reaching out to new places for those willing to make the effort to develop new opportunities. Along with the 787 – which currently outnumbers it almost 6 to 1 in operational aircraft, the A359 is changing world air travel with every new delivery.