Less than a month after its maiden test flight, the first A350XWB has been delivered to Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). Airbus revealed the announcement today whilst the airline itself tweeted excitedly about the aircraft “coming home” to Copenhagen tomorrow. The delivery is instrumental in Scandinavian Airlines’ environmentally-friendly fleet renewal.
The first A350 for SAS
After months of waiting, Scandinavian Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900. The aircraft, registered SE-RSA, will arrive at Copenhagen Airport tomorrow where it will be based ahead of fleet integration in the coming year. The airline took to Twitter to share the news in which it encouraged fans to follow tomorrow’s delivery.
— SAS – Scandinavian Airlines (@SAS) November 28, 2019
The aircraft will be capable of accommodating 300 passengers across three classes; 40 in SAS Business, 32 in SAS Plus, and 228 in SAS Go. The cabin configuration has not yet been revealed but it is thought that it will mirror that of Air France.
That would constitute a 1-2-1 seating in SAS Business, 2-4-2 in SAS Plus, and 3-3-3 in SAS Go. A spokesperson from the airline told Simple Flying that further details about the aircraft would be revealed during the inauguration on 9th December.
Proposed routes for the A350
Scandinavian Airlines expects the aircraft to begin its operations on 28th January 2020 with numerous destinations lined up. And the first of those destinations will be between Copenhagen and Chicago O’Hare.
However, SAS is undeterred in its ambition for this aircraft. In a press release, the airline said:
“The A350…will operate on seven routes during the first year, including Chicago, Beijing, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and San Francisco.”
Not only is this aircraft absorbing a number of alluring long-haul routes but it has proven to be an attractive investment for SAS’ passenger experience. The airline says it will now be able to offer more comfort within the cabin providing passengers with optimized airflow and soundproofing. Long-haul flights will now present passengers with an ostentatious cabin experience and boost the airline’s competitive edge.
Longer-range, smaller footprint
But SAS is undoubtedly delighted about this delivery of this aircraft for another reason. That’s because it helps the airline to move closer to its climate change resolutions. SAS is undergoing a gigantic short-haul and long-haul fleet renovation which will allow it to remain competitive whilst reducing its carbon footprint. It wants a 25% reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2023.
For this reason, it has invested in Airbus’ A350 for long-haul routes as a replacement for its A340 aircraft. The A350 is more fuel-efficient than the former aircraft, reducing carbon emissions by around 30% whilst also curtailing noise pollution by 40%.
It’s just one of the ways the airline is looking to modernize its fleet as a response to pressures for the aviation industry to lessen its environmental impact. But that’s not all it’s planning. SAS has an extensive order placed with Airbus which will deliver three other aircraft models over the next few years.
An Airbus-tinted future
Ingegerd Viking, the first A350, is just one of the 96 aircraft that SAS will receive between now and 2023. According to its website, SAS has 80 A320neo on order, seven more A350, five A330 Enhanced, and three A321LR.
The single-fleet Airbus revolution that SAS is undergoing will not only help it to achieve its environmental goals but it will also help with network expansion. The airline recently announced plans to significantly develop its European offering and the majority of its new aircraft will be responsible for these services. Routes to destinations such as Rhodes, Tivat, Alicante, Chania on Crete, and Zadar will be operated by its A320neo fleet.
The delivery of the first A350 to SAS’ fleet marks the beginning of a new era for the airline. We’re anticipating great things from its fleet and we’ll be following tomorrow’s delivery. Will you? Let us know in the comments below!