The A350-1000 is the longest variant of the A350 XWB family, seven meters (or just under 23 feet) longer than the A350-900. Officially entering service three years after the -900, the -1000 has accumulated orders for over 50 jets, compared to over 340 for the smaller variant. So which airlines are operators of this fairly new aircraft? Let’s find out.
A look at the numbers
As far as fully built A350-1000s, there appear to be about 54 aircraft. One of these, however, belongs to Airbus itself and is the test version of the jet with the ‘early’ manufacturer serial number (MSN) 59.
At the time of writing, there are actually about 61 A350-100s that have already been produced, according to Airfleets.net. However, a number of these are marked as ‘on order,’ meaning official delivery to the customer has yet to occur.
This is typically a result of a delivery deferral or the fact that Airbus still needs some time to complete the jet. Of course, this means that in the coming days and weeks, numbers in this article may shift from the ‘on order’ column to being delivered and actively part of an airline.
The A350-1000 ‘club’ is actually quite small as it is only active in the fleets of five airlines. The largest operator, Qatar Airways, has 18, while on the other end of the spectrum, Air Caraibes has just one.
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The largest operators
The largest operator of the A350-1000 is Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways. Out of its Doha hub, the airline currently has 18 of the type. The airline has an additional five being built by Airbus at this time. Its total order is for 42 of the large jet.
While we are living through less-than-normal times, the A350-1000 has been a very active part of the Qatar Airways fleet this year.
If we take a single aircraft, registration A7-ANA, we can see that it has flown all over the world in recent weeks with the following destinations:
- Los Angeles
- Sao Paolo
The second-largest operator is Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, which has 13 A350-1000s. It also has an additional two listed as on order. The A350 has been used to fly from Hong Kong to destinations such as Amsterdam, Osaka, San Francisco, London, and more.
Smaller fleets: The UK operators
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have seven and six A350-1000s, respectively. Both airlines each have a single additional aircraft on order.
All seven of British Airways’ A350-1000 are listed as active, flying from London to cities like Bengaluru, Dubai, and Tel Aviv. Interestingly, the A350-1000s have been deployed a lot recently on services to the US east coast. They include Boston, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. The major midwestern city of Chicago is also being served by the -1000.
BA’s single aircraft currently being built, G-XWBH, took a fourth test flight on November 12th, meaning it could be delivered quite soon. Beyond this, the airline will be expecting 10 more, for a total of 18.
In recent weeks Virgin Atlantic’s six -1000s have been flying to faraway destinations such as Lagos, Los Angeles, and New York. However, the jets have also been flying closer to home, to cities like Brussels and Milan.
Virgin Atlantic’s one -1000 currently being completed, G-VTEA, took a second ‘customer acceptance flight’ on November 17th, meaning that official delivery could occur even sooner than BA’s outstanding -1000. The airline has ordered a total of 12.
The other airlines
While Air Caraibes has three A350-900s, it only has one -1000 registered as F-HMIL. From its base at Paris Orly, the aircraft has been flying to just two destinations: Pointe-a-Pitre and Fort-de-France. The latter destination is part of a triangle route run by the airline.
We should mention that Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad has five A350-1000s- using the term ‘has’ somewhat loosely. These aircraft have been “delivered” but were actually flown directly into storage at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. While their long-term stay may be partially due to the crisis, earlier jets completed in 2019 also went directly into storage. Therefore, the mention of Etihad is more of a ‘footnote’ as the airline is yet to actually ‘operate’ the aircraft.
Have you flown on the A350-1000 yet? Please share your experience with us in the comments!