China Southern has taken delivery of their first Airbus A350 aircraft from Airbus. Soon, the aircraft will fly several domestic routes before launching international services. But for Airbus, this is a major step forward as they battle Boeing for dominance in East Asia.
China Southern’s A350 will be different from their other aircraft. There are 314 seats onboard with 28 in business class, 24 in premium economy, and 262 in economy class. To outfit the entire cabin, China Southern has chosen Recaro Aircraft Seating. This represents a change in terms of China Southern’s business class product offerings. Specifically, China Southern has chosen the Recaro CL6710 seat.
These seats can be found on several other airlines including El Al’s 787s and TAP Portugal’s A330-900neos. If you think you’ve seen this elsewhere too, the seat is similar (but not the same) as United’s Polaris product and Air France’s A350 product.
In premium economy, China Southern is going for an all-new product with Recaro’s PL3530 style of seating. On the A350, this is probably arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Initially, China Southern will place the A350 in service from their hub in Guangzhou to major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. The A350-900 has plenty of range, so it is very likely that this aircraft will appear on additional international routes. However, at this time, we don’t have confirmation from China Southern regarding which international routes they will place the A350-900 on.
This matters a lot to Airbus
Both Airbus and Boeing predict that the East Asian market – especially China – will need plenty of new aircraft to keep up with the growing demand for travel. As a result, both have gone out of their way to build up their order books in the Far East.
China Southern, in particular, has been flirting with the idea of hitting a 2,000 aircraft fleet. Naturally, Airbus wants their aircraft to be competitive. The A350-900 is a new, fuel-efficient aircraft that goes head-to-head with the 787. China Southern already operates both the 787-8 and 787-9. If they do grow as they say they will, Airbus definitely hopes their A350 can be China Southern’s go-to widebody aircraft for long-haul routes.
China Southern’s new Airbus A350 will be entering service soon. With brand new products onboard, passengers can expect a different experience compared to what China Southern presently offers. For now, China Southern has yet to announce which international routes will receive the A350. Once China Southern receives more of the 20 A350-900s they have on order, passengers will definitely have more opportunities to fly on the aircraft.
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