On Sunday, Delta Air Lines took delivery of its very first next generation Airbus A350-900 airliner.
Delta’s first A350 arrived at its base in Atlanta just after 2:00 am on Sunday following a delivery flight from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
Upon arrival, the plane was greeted by a ceremonial water cannon salute before pulling up to a gate.
The new wide-body jet is one of the 25 A350s Delta ordered in 2014 and is the first of five Airbus will deliver to the airline this year.
In May, Delta announced that it is deferring delivery of 10 A350s by at least two to three years.
The Airbus A350 entered service in early 2015 with Qatar Airways and is now in operation with roughly a dozen airlines around the world. However, Delta will be the aircraft’s first operator in North America.
With room for 306 passengers, Delta’s A350s are expected to take over many of its trans-Pacific flights currently operated by its ageing fleet of 747-400 jumbo jets. Delta’s fleet of 747s, which were inherited from Northwest Airlines following their 2008 merger, has been in service an average of 26 years and is set to be retired at the end of the year.
The A350-900 is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines each producing 84,000 lbs. of thrust. The aircraft is optimised for efficient long-haul flying and boasts a range of 8,000 miles.
Inside, the jet will have room for 32 private Delta One suites, 48 new Delta premium economy seats, and 226 main cabin seats. All cabins will have wi-fi connectivity, USB charging, and personal in-flight entertainment. In addition, the A350’s carbon fibre reinforced plastic fuselage allows the cabin to be pressurised to mimic conditions at 6,000 feet of altitude, allowing for a more comfortable ride.
Over the next couple of months, Delta will prepare the A350 for its inaugural commercial flight from Detroit to Tokyo-Narita International Airport on October 30.
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