The first Airbus A350 destined for Air France has taken its maiden flight in Toulouse. The aircraft will become the first of 28 firm aircraft orders placed by Air France-KLM to join the fleet.
The Airbus A350 is becoming a popular long-haul option for carriers across the globe. According to data from Airbus as of the 31st of July, 27 carriers now operate the Airbus A350-900, while four operate the Airbus A350-1000. The Air France-KLM group has ordered 28 Airbus A350-900 aircraft. While the order was due to be split between the two carriers, it is now expected to go to Air France exclusively.
The first flight of many
Yesterday Air France’s first Airbus A350 took its first flight. The aircraft is being tested with the registration F-WZFN, however, according to AIB Family, will be delivered as F-HTYA. It has the manufacturer’s serial number 331.
The aircraft took to the French skies at 13:15 on the 27th August according to data from FlightRadar24.com. The aircraft then proceeded to fly above the south of France and the Bay of Biscay. It started off by flying back and forth with simple turns.
Around 16:40, the aircraft returned to the Toulouse area to go over a number of aircraft maneuvers such as tighter turns and changes in speed. The aircraft landed back in Toulouse at 18:38. As such, the aircraft’s first flight lasted for 5-hours and 23-minutes.
Air France’s Airbus A350 order
Air France is a part of the Air France-KLM group. The group has ordered 28 A350-900 aircraft from Airbus. According to Airbus’ order books, 21 of these are bound for Air France, while the remaining seven are bound for KLM.
However, Air France will exclusively take the Airbus A350. In exchange, KLM will take the group’s remaining Boeing 787 orders. We previously reported that Air France says that this move will allow the two airlines to “realise fleet efficiencies through harmonisation and accelerated growth of similar aircraft at both airlines”.
Where will the Airbus A350 fly?
Air France had Airbus A350 flights scheduled from the 23rd of September. However, according to Routes Online, these flights were replaced with existing Boeing aircraft in July. It instead appears as though the first long-haul Airbus A350 flight by Air France will be to Toronto on the 23rd of October.
In Toronto, the aircraft could bump into its sister, the British Airways Airbus A350-1000. Air France could fly the Airbus A350 on some shorter routes for crew training as was the case with BA’s A350 flying to Madrid.
Are you excited to see the first Airbus A350 delivered to Air France? Let us know in the comments!