SAS’ first Airbus A350-900 XWB has made its maiden test flight at Airbus’ Aéroport de Toulouse–Blagnac (TLS) facility. Sporting an eye-catching new silver, grey and blue livery the A350 took to the skies for the very first time for a series of flight tests before being delivered to SAS.
Named Ingegerd Viking and registered as SE-RSA, the A350 is expected to be delivered to SAS’ hub at Copenhagen Airport (CPH) sometime in December.
SAS’ new A350 will be based in Copenhagen
While in Denmark, where it will be based, the aircraft will undergo crew familiarization flights before entering service on the 28th of January, 2020.SAS has decided to put its new flagship plane on the popular long-haul service from Copenhagen to Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
Other destinations for the A350 will include New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, some of SAS’ longest flights.
How will the A350-900 XWB be configured?
SAS has opted for a three-class cabin comprised of 40 business class seats, 32 SAS Plus seats and 228 economy class seats that SAS refers to as “Go seats” for a total of 300 passengers.
Ingegerd Viking is the first of eight A350-900 XWBs that the Nordic airlines have ordered to complement its fleet of existing Airbus widebody jets.
SAS is going to use the A350 as a replacement for their four-engine A340-300 aircraft and expects to see a fuel savings of 25%. Built using composite materials and fitted with state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 is considerably quieter than previous Airbus wide-body aircraft.
Also with the flight shame movement in full swing in Europe, Sweden and all of Scandinavia are aggressively looking at more sustainable energy sources. With this in mind, SAS has recently signed an agreement with Airbus regarding research into hybrid and electric-powered planes.
While electrically powered commercial aircraft are still a long way off, the Star Alliance member want’s to have all its aircraft using biofuel by 2030.
SAS is looking to overhaul most of its fleet
With another eye to the future SAS is hoping to retire its older Boeing 737-600 aircraft by the end of this year and is renewing its fleet of short-haul planes with 80 A320neos.
The long-haul fleet is to be upgraded with the A350s we already mentioned and five A330neos and three A321LRs.
When recently talking about SAS’ new A350 at an event in Toulouse, aviation website AirlineGeeks quotes SAS Commercial Executive Vice President Karl Sandlund as saying:
“We will shorten the distance from Scandinavian to cultures and important markets by serving worldwide destinations in an efficient and comfortable way. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board this state-of-the-art aircraft.”
“Our new fleet is incredibly well suited to Scandinavian travel patterns and tailored to meet market demands. This new aircraft will strengthen our customer offering.”
The A350 is truly a game-changer that only has passengers who have flown it saying good things. How about you? Please give us your thoughts on the A350 in the comments section.