OPERATING CARRIER Thai Airways
DATE SERVED Until September 15
FLIGHT NUMBER TG221/222
INFO As Thai Airways’ looks forward to the highly anticipated delivery of its first A350 later this month, most people believe that the earliest that they’d get to fly on the new aircraft is on September 16 (Bangkok–Melbourne). However, the A350 will actually be serving a number of domestic services as part of the crew familiarisation process. Travellers looking to fly on the aeroplane early can do so from September 4 on the Bangkok–Phuket route.
OPERATING CARRIER Singapore Airlines
DATE SERVED Until October 21, but may become a permanent fixture on the route
FLIGHT NUMBER SQ890/891
INFO Singapore Airlines’ is currently operating flights to Amsterdam and Dusseldorf, with Melbourne and San Francisco to begin later this year. However, the Star Alliance member is also using its new aircraft on daily flights to and from Hong Kong. The Singapore–Hong Kong trunk route generates plenty of demand, meaning that SIA is still able to operate long-haul aircraft such as the A380 and A350 on the route profitably.
OPERATING CARRIER China Airlines
DATE SERVED From December 5
FLIGHT NUMBER CI152/153
INFO There is no shortage in the number of airlines that operate flights between Taipei and Osaka. Along with the usual Taiwan and Japan-based full-service carriers, the route is also operated by a number of regional low-cost carriers as well as a fifth freedom service by Cathay Pacific. It is perhaps unsurprising therefore, that China Airlines has decided to offer its newest aircraft on this ultra-competitive route.
HO CHI MIHN CITY–SHANGHAI
OPERATING CARRIER Vietnam Airlines
DATE SERVED From September 1
FLIGHT NUMBER VN522/523
INFO While Vietnam Airlines does operate long-haul A350 flights to Paris, the fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft is also operating flights to important regional destinations such as Seoul. The Skyteam member will also begin offering A350 services to Shanghai next month, as the aircraft replaces the ageing B777-200ER.
OPERATING CARRIER Cathay Pacific
DATE SERVED From October 30
FLIGHT NUMBER CX117/118
INFO Cathay Pacific currently operates the highly inefficient A340 on its Hong Kong–Auckland route. The four-engine gas-guzzler features the airline’s last generation cabin products, including the controversial old “coffin” business class seats. The introduction of the A350 will provide travellers with much improved hard products – something the 11-hour long flights desperately need.