Japan Airlines Takes Delivery Of First Airbus A350

Japan Airlines has officially taken delivery of its first, specially tailored, wide-body A350 aircraft. It plans to use the plane on busy domestic routes.

JAL A350
Japan Airlines takes delivery of its first A350. Photo: Airbus

With 2020 and the Tokyo Summer Olympics fast approaching, Japan Airlines is taking steps to prepare for the games by increasing passenger capacity on popular routes. Along with an increase in available seats, the airline also wants to showcase to the world its high quality of service, and commitment to technological advances in the world of aviation.

Despite, Japan Airlines being only one of two major airlines not to have any Airbus aircraft in their fleets, Airbus managed to beat Boeing for the $9.5 billion dollar order.

According to euronews, when referring to Airbus’s distinctive side-stick controls, former pilot, and now JAL Chairman, Yoshiharu Ueki, said his experience on an A380 simulator helped him to select Airbus over Boeing. While attending a webcast ceremony in Toulouse, the 66-year-old JAL boss joked “I had the urge to take the control stick on the ferry flight to Tokyo.”

Japan Airlines A350 to fly Tokyo Haneda to Fukuoka

Starting September 1st, Japan Airlines’ new A350 will enter service on the popular Tokyo-Fukuoka route, with Sapporo and Naha flights to follow.

New JAL A350 to fly Tokyo-Fukuoka route. Photo: Airbus

Japan Airlines is calling the introduction of the A350 on its Tokyo Haneda to Fukuoka airport a first step in revolutionizing its domestic routes by using cutting-edge technology to deliver the ultimate cabin experience.

Laid out to suit a domestic configuration, the cabin will comprise of three classes of service: JAL First Class, Class J and Economy Class.

JAL Seat A350 seat configuration.Photo:JAL

All new ergonomically manufactured seats will feature personal electronic screens and power outlets in line with today’s modern day travellers.

As well as the usual assortment of inflight entertainment options, the personal monitors installed in the seat backs will allow passengers the opportunity to view their flight from take-off until landing.

The ability to view the course of your entire trip is thanks to the introduction of a built-in exterior camera mounted on the tail. This is a cool feature aviation geeks will love and something you won’t find on a rival Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

What other cool features does the A350 have?

First of all, when compared to other aircraft the A350 has moved away from the more normal, slightly curved cabin in favour of a square shape that gives the feeling of having more room.

The A350 has a more square shaped body. Photo: Airbus

Do you remember back when Boeing launched their Dreamliner touting that the windows would dim at the touch of a button? While the windows dim, they never get really dark, a complaint that now has some airlines retrofitting blinds.

The A350 has great big windows and blinds guaranteed to help you either take a nap or get a good night’s sleep, depending of course on the length of the flight. The A350 is also very quiet thanks to the use of Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines that make it the quietest twin-engine commercial airliner flying today.

A little thing that may not strike you as being cool, but that you will certainly appreciate, is that  the majority of the A350 is made out of composites rather than metal. This allows for the cabin to be pressurised similar to what you would experience living in say, Colorado Springs at 6,000ft rather than at Machu Picchu at 8,000 ft, the level most other older aircraft have their pressure set at. Also, due to the composite, planes can accommodate more moisture in the cabin alleviating that dry mouth, nose and throat you often feel after a long flight.

Wide-Body Jets on Short Haul flights?

It’s interesting to see that JAL is using their new A350 on a flight that lasts just 1hr 50 min and has me wondering if this is not something that we could see happening in the future in Europe.

Thinking about it logically probably not, as it is already faster to the city centre of London to Paris or Barcelona to Madrid by rail than it is to fly.

So I guess for now the only way we will get to fly on an A350 is to take a long-haul flight or perhaps a short haul flight while visiting Japan for the Olympics.