Double-vision: Our Top 10 listing of A350 customers
To accompany the release of our flight test report on the Airbus A350, our Top 10 feature looks at the leading airline customers to date for the XWB, by number of aircraft ordered. Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database records the European company as having so far secured firm commitments for a combined 780 of the big twin, the first example of which entered use in January 2015.
1: Qatar Airways; 80 ordered
The launch customer and lead user of the A350 took delivery of its first -900 example last December, before putting the aircraft into revenue service on the Doha-Frankfurt route in mid-January. The carrier has now introduced three of its eventual 80 examples, with the type also being used to serve Singapore. Qatar’s order is split between 43 A350-900s and 37 of the larger -1000 model.
2: Singapore Airlines; 70 ordered
Airbus on 19 May released an image of Singapore Airlines’ first A350-900, in final assembly at its Toulouse site in France. The exclusively Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-engined type is scheduled to be delivered to the carrier early next year, with a further 69 to follow. Ascend also shows Singapore as having options to acquire a further 30 of the type.
3: Etihad Airways; 62 ordered
Gulf carrier Etihad Airways will be adding the A350 (old livery shown in early Airbus impression) to a fleet which already includes Airbus’s A380 superjumbo. Forty of Etihad’s eventual 62 A350s will be in the -900 version, with Ascend listing the first as due to be built during 2016. The airline has so far introduced its first two of 10 A380s.
4: Cathay Pacific; 48 ordered
Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific in March revealed that its -900 examples of the A350 are to be equipped with a 280-seat cabin, including 38 in business class, 28 in premium economy and 214 in economy. Its 48-unit order also counts 26 aircraft in the -1000 version (pictured).
5: United Airlines; 35 ordered
The first of three US customers for the A350 to make it into our listing, United Airlines will receive 35 under current confirmed orders. All of these will be in the -1000 version. However, counting options, the carrier’s total fleet of the twinjet could eventually climb to 75 examples.
6: Japan Airlines; 31 ordered
Airbus’s newest widebody paid a first visit to Tokyo last year, with aircraft MSN005 having touched down at Haneda International airport as part of a route-proving campaign. Japan Airlines has ordered 31, including 13 -1000 aircraft. It also has options for another 25, Ascend shows.
7: Asiana Airlines; 30 ordered
Asiana Airlines placed a 30-unit order with Airbus for the A350 during the Farnborough air show in the UK in July 2008. Unusually, its order is for aircraft in all three variants, including eight in the shortened -800 model and 10 stretched -1000s (pictured), Ascend shows. The carrier’s commitment to the XWB could be strengthened in the future, with another 10 examples listed as options as part of its contract.
8: TAM; 27 ordered
Ascend records two A350-900s as currently being assembled for Brazilian carrier TAM: serial numbers MSN024 and MSN027. An Airbus image released earlier this month shows the first of these on its Toulouse final assembly line. Options could boost this fleet size by a further five units.
9: Air France, Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa; 25 ordered each
Our data shows a pair of major European flag carriers – Air France and Lufthansa – as each having 25 A350s on order, with the USA’s Delta Air Lines also committed to the same fleet size. All will receive aircraft in the -900 version. Lufthansa also has options for another 30.
10: Aeroflot Russian Airlines, American Airlines; 22 ordered each
Completing our listing, with 22 aircraft ordered each, are Aeroflot Russian Airlines and American Airlines. Of these, Aeroflot is due to receive 14 A350-900s and eight -800s (pictured), although the development of the latter variant is in limbo, as Airbus is now focusing on the A330neo in this sector. American will introduce only the baseline -900 variant.