BENGALURU: Air India on Monday commercially launched of India’s first Airbus A350 flight from Bengaluru to Mumbai carrying 297 passengers on board. Flight AI 589 departed from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) at 7.05 am and reached Mumbai at 8.50 am.
The Airbus A350 aircraft is part of Air India’s record setting order of 470 aircraft signed with Airbus and Boeing in June 2023. The first Airbus A350-900, registered as VT-JRA arrived at IGI Airport, New Delhi on December 23, 2023, said an official release. One aircraft will arrive every six days in 2024.
The configuration of the aircraft is 316 seats - 28 private business suites with full-flat beds, 24 premium economy seats with extra legroom and 264 spacious economy seats. The latest generation Panasonic (eX3) in-flight entertainment system and HD screens in them will offer a superior flying experience to flyers, it said. “Fitted with the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, this aircraft is 20 percent more fuel efficient tan other similar aircraft,” it added.
Bengalurean Naveen, who flew on this spacious aircraft during one of its subsequent trips later on Monday from Bengaluru to Chennai told TNIE, “I have been waiting for long to travel by this magnificient aircraft. This model has been operated by international airlines to India and I have flown by them. But this is the first time that an Indian airline is operating one and that too on a domestic route.”
Asked what impressed him about this make, he said, “The entertainment systems available were impressive. Overall, it has more space than regular aircraft.”
AI 589 will operate from KIA on six days of the week barring Tuesdays to the same launch timings.
The release added, “Initially the aircraft will be deployed on domestic routes for crew familiarisation and regulatory compliance purposes. Passengers from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai will have the opportunity to experience the unparalleled comfort and state-of-the-art technology of the A350 - part of the 470 new aircraft order that Air India placed less than a year ago. The aircraft will be later deployed for long-haul flights to destinations across continents, strengthening AI’s growing fleet of wide-body fleets, comprising its own and recently leased aircraft.”