Lufthansa celebrated the delivery of its first A350 aircraft at a private unveiling ceremony at Munich airport last night.
The aircraft, which was presented to media and stakeholders in a maintenance hangar, is scheduled to start its first service on February 10th between Munich and Delhi, with a Boston route to follow mid-March.
The first ten of the new generation aircraft will be based at Munich with an additional 15 to follow, though the operations of these have yet to be decided.The airline plans to gradually replace its A340s with the A350.
Lufthansa’s A350 is the first Airbus aircraft to feature on-board LED lighting technology designed to sync with passengers’ body clocks and ease jetlag. Developed by Berlin-based lighting designers Kardorff Ingenieure, the system has 24 different lighting settings intended to simulate morning, evening and dining “lighting moods”, promoting relaxation or activity depending on the time of day. The lighting system will be re-fitted in Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-800s in due course.
The A350 will also be the first fleet to feature Lufthansa’s upgraded in-flight entertainment system, which lets passengers customise their on-board entertainment selections from six weeks in advance. Using the “Lufthansa Companion” app, passengers can create personal playlists from a selection of 100 films and 200 TV programmes, which can be watched through the seat screen and on devices.
It will also offer wifi connectivity through Lufthansa’s Flynet portal, which lets passengers connect via WLAN or GSM once the aircraft has reached cruising altitude at a cost of €9 for one hour, €14 for two hours or €17 for the full flight.
The A350 has 293 seats, with 48 in business (2-2-2), 21 in premium economy (2-3-2) and 224 in economy (3-3-3). The new economy seats were designed by London-based design consultancy Pearson Lloyd featuring a “blue colour breeze design scheme” designed to resemble the sky and horizon and to create a feeling of openness when in the air. In the passenger cabins, metallic silver and blue foil accents add to this effect, reflecting natural light from the windows.
“The arrival of the A350 is a milestone in our growth strategy, and a significant upgrade in the generation of long-haul aircraft,” said CEO of Lufthansa Group Carsten Spohr. “With 25 per cent fewer emissions and 50 per cent less noise, it is the world’s most innovative aircraft and a leader in both cost and fuel efficiency.
“The launch of the new A350 sends a strong signal that Lufthansa is investing heavily in both hardware and software. We have announced our plans to retrofit our aircraft with wifi this year, and our investment in more than €12 billion in new aircraft due, which represents the largest private venture by a German company to date.”
CEO of Airbus Tom Enders said: “If we want to continue to grow in aviation, we need a license to grow for our manufacturers, and we can only do that if we build environmentally friendly aircraft. The A350 is the leading aircraft in this regard, and the vision of the future for the two-litre category.”