After months of delays, Turkish Airlines has finally taken delivery of its first A350-900 from Airbus. The aircraft, registered TC-LGA, touched down in Istanbul at around 02:30 this morning. It’s the first of up to 30 A350s expected to arrive at the carrier and will be deployed on high traffic routes such as London and Dubai.
The A350 has arrived in Istanbul
Turkish Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900. Despite conflicting reports earlier in the week about when this was going to happen, Simple Flying can confirm that TC-LGA has definitely arrived with the airline in Istanbul.
The brand new A350 took off from Toulouse at around 22:30 last night. Flying for just under three hours, it crossed the south of Italy, skirted Northern Greece, and finally arrived in Istanbul at 02:24 this morning.
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This marked the eighth fight of TC-LGA, having taken several flights under the control of Airbus as part of the manufacturing process. In fact, TC-LGA took its very first flight on March 13th this year, so the delivery has been quite some time coming.
According to AIB Family, the first customer acceptance flight took place on June 11th. After that, it was sent off to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE), where it was stored for two and a half months. After returning to Toulouse on August 25th, a couple of further flights took place, including a second customer flight on October 12th.
It’s likely that Turkish put the brakes on delivery earlier in the year due to fallout from COVID. But now, with services ramping up and Turkish serving more than 200 destinations, the time is right to welcome this wonderful aircraft into the Turkish fleet.
Sadly, the arrival was with little fanfare, not just because it was the wee small hours of the morning. Due to COVID restrictions, the airline decided not to hold any ceremony in either Toulouse or Istanbul. Nevertheless, staff were reportedly excited to meet their new widebody Airbus.
🚀Turkish Airlines' first A350 type passenger plane was delivered tonight.
🚀Due to the epidemic, it was decided not to hold ceremonies in Toulouse and Istanbul.
🚀After the first A350 (TC-LGA) landed in Istanbul, it was greeted with excitement by the staff. pic.twitter.com/vnnqe8AJcX
— HavArenaMedya (@HavArenaMedya) October 23, 2020
Where will it fly?
Turkish Airlines has made no secret of the routes on which it plans to operate its A350s. The first two A350s will be deployed on two of the most lucrative routes in the Turkish network – London and Dubai. As major aviation hubs, this is a great way to connect customers to Istanbul from all over the world with this flagship aircraft.
Next to launch will be Los Angeles, another key route for the airline. And finally, the fourth route already announced will be from Istanbul to Seoul, South Korea.
However, it should be noted that all these route announcements were made long before COVID, so there could be some changes to these plans. Also, the dates for route launches have long passed by, so it’s not entirely clear when we’ll see services beginning.
In total, Turkish Airlines has 25 Airbus A350s on order, with options for five more. This means we’re likely to see them deployed into all the many markets Turkish serves around the world as more join the fleet.
Are you excited to see the A350 arriving at Turkish Airlines? Let us know in the comments.