Hong Kong will be the first destination to be served by an Asiana Airlines Airbus A350 aircraft, the airline has confirmed with Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

The Korean carrier will begin deploying its new A350 to Hong Kong starting May 9 this year, departing Seoul Incheon at 0900 hours and arriving in Hong Kong at 1140 hours. The airline will then cease flying the aircraft on its Seoul Incheon-Hong Kong route on June 14 this year, before deploying the aircraft on its Seoul Incheon-Osaka Kansai route starting June 15.

In addition to the Hong Kong route, Asiana will also begin flying its A350 between Seoul Incheon and Manila starting May 9. Both the Manila and Osaka routes are scheduled to cease being operated by A350s on August 13, with the aircraft due to be deployed on the airline’s San Francisco route in mid-August, followed by London Heathrow in late December.

Asiana had previously planned to debut its first new A350 on May 15, on its Osaka and Manila routes, however according to a spokesperson for the airline, Asiana “wanted to introduce the newest, state-of-the-art A350 aircraft as early as possible and all things considered, Hong Kong was the most suitable destination for us”.

The airline’s A350s will be configured with 311 seats across three tiers – Business Smartium, economy and its new Economy Smartium seat offering, which will debut on the aircraft. Economy Smartium, while being similar to economy class seating in terms of recline, width and seat-back screen size, will offer 36 seats with 3-4 inches more pitch, along with providing travellers in the category with priority boarding and access to the Asiana Business Class Lounge at Incheon International Airport.

In addition to its A350s, Asiana is also expanding its fleet with new A321neos expected to begin operating in the near future.