Air China has confirmed a new order with Airbus to purchase 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, slated for delivery from 2020 to 2022.
According to its announcement about the transaction, which is valued at US$6.5 billion at current list prices, the Chinese flag carrier has the right to swap the last five aircraft to the larger A350-1000 variant.
The Chinese flag carrier said the transaction will “expand the overall fleet capacity of the Group and optimise its fleet structure”.
Both A350-900 and A350-1000 belong to the A350XWB family, the new-generation aircraft produced by Airbus. The A350-900 is a long-range wide-body aircraft, which entered into commercial service in 2015 with Qatar Airways, while the larger A350-1000 began operations in 2018 with the same airline.
The Chinese flag carrier now has 10 A350-900s in its fleet, but doesn’t have any A350-1000 aircraft yet. As can be seen from its official seat map, Air China’s A350-900 aircraft is equipped with 312 seats divided into three classes: 32 lie-flat seats in business class in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, 24 seats in premium economy in a 2-4-2 layout, and 256 in economy class configured in 3-3-3. In-flight wifi is provided as well.
Air China took delivery of its first A350-900 aircraft in August 2018, which was soon deployed on its maiden flight from Beijing to Shanghai. According to the information shown on its official Weibo account, the Chinese carrier is now using the aircraft on a few domestic routes, as well as international flights to London, Milan, Frankfurt and Munich.
Another Chinese carrier China Southern Airlines has recently received its first A350-900 aircraft that features new seat products.