The 350s have been steadily appearing across the world. There are now 24 Airbus 350s flying 21 routes with six operators: Cathay Pacific, Finnair, LATAM, Qatar, Singapore and Vietnam Airlines. Three more carriers will follow with Thai, China Airways and Ethiopian getting their first 350s in the next few months.
The opportunity for me to fly on my first 350 is getting closer. With Thai Airways announcement that they will start their Airbus 350 service between Bangkok and Melbourne in September, it is looking likely I will be aboard a Thai 350 in December. Originally, Thai was looking at a July start date but this has well slipped past. The airline will use their 350s twice daily in both directions between the two cities replacing their current twice daily 777 service.
The current 350 state of play, carrier by carrier:
- Cathay Pacific: 46 ordered; 1 delivered. First service: 1 June 2016. Currently, their 350s will take you from Hong Kong to Manila or Taipei. All of their 350s will be powered by a 10% sugar cane-derived, farnesene-based renewable bio fuel
- Finnair: 19 ordered; 5 delivered. First service: 9 October 2015. The carrier is extensively deploying these on their Asia routes with daily services from Helsinki on their “Short cut” routes to Shanghai, Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong. You will sometimes see the 350 timetabled to London and Brussels.
- LATAM: 27 ordered; 3 delivered. First service: 25 January 2016. You can find their planes operating daily between São Paulo and Madrid and São Paulo – Miami. Orlando will be added in July.
- Qatar Airways – launch customer: 80 ordered; 8 delivered. First service: 15 January 2015. Qatar have them flying to almost every continent with daily services from Doha to Frankfurt, Munich, Singapore, Riyadh, Dubai, Boston, Philadelphia, New York and all 13 hours non-stop to Adelaide, Australia.
- Singapore Airlines: 67 ordered; 3 delivered. First service: 8 March 2016. Singapore to Jakarta A359 is twice daily and Amsterdam is once daily. Singapore – Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur are at a lesser frequency.
- Vietnam Airlines: 10 ordered; 4 delivered. First service: 3 July 2015. Domestically you can find the 350 flying between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on a varying timetable. Intentionally it operates from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Paris. Regionally the plane also operates Hanoi to Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City to Shanghai
Are you amongst the ones to first ride on a 350? December cannot come fast enough for me, although I have three more 787 rides between now and then!