British Airways has revealed it intends to boost its previous schedule of A350-1000XWBs on the Heathrow to Dubai route from March 2020.
BA will take receipt of the new type in July this year. As we previously shared, the A350 will be flown between Madrid and Heathrow during the summer of 2019. This will enable crews to become familiar with the new cabin layout.
Thereafter the A350s Dubai ‘selling’ date of 8th October indicates the airline’s plan to be up and running with long-haul Heathrow to Dubai flights in the latter part of this year. The latest revision suggests BA is confident that the new fleet additions will prove popular with customers.
A Heathrow to Toronto route is also being touted from 1st October.
BA says a further three Airbus A350s will augment the fleet during this time. And two Boeing 777 aircraft will be modified to match the A350s cabin configuration.
The first commercial flight of the A350 took place in 2015. The innovative fuselage design provides passengers with greater comfort, a higher cabin pressure and more natural humidity. The design also commands a lower maintenance cost.
British Airways promises the interior of the A350 will instill passengers with, ‘a feeling of well-being, space and calm due to its reduced noise levels, high ceilings and ambient lighting.’
Over the next five years the flag carrier says it plans to take delivery of 72 new aircraft including the Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 787-10, A320 and A320neo. The fleet additions will be assigned to both short and long haul routes.
The 777-200ER will be replaced by the A350 on a number of routes. According to Airbus the 200ER has a 16% heavier empty weight than the A350, which leads to a 30% higher block fuel consumption. In short it is 25% more expensive to run than its usurper.
Qatar Airways tops the chart of airlines with the highest number of A350s in service. The country’s flag carrier has 37 aircraft of type in service.
‘Three class’ cabin
BA intends to do away with the 1st class cabins of the Airbus A350-1000. Instead the cabin will be configured in three sections: ‘Club World’, ‘Traveller Plus’ and ‘World Traveller’.
Chief executive of British Airways Álex Cruz says the Club World product will offer direct aisle access and a personal door to allow a degree of privacy. The double seats in the center of the cabin also feature a divide which can be slid open or shut to suit the occasion.
The configuration includes 56 seats of ‘Traveller Plus’. ‘Traveller Plus’ customers are treated to luxurious bedding, restaurant-style catering courtesy of Austrian company Do&Co, enhanced connectivity and new lounges.
Lastly there are 219 ‘World Traveller’ economy seats to the aft. The seats are expected to be arranged in 3-3-3 configuration. Passengers seated here will have access to high speed Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment, complimentary drinks and a four course meal. A ticket for the A350 also includes a generous baggage allowance.
The airline, which is 100 years old on the 25th August this year, says it will roll out the new suites in a staged and deliberate phasing ‘designed to minimise disruption to customers’.