Earlier this year, Air India confirmed an order for 470 jets with Airbus and Boeing. As a part of the order, Airbus will deliver six A350-900 aircraft to Air India, which were initially designated for Aeroflot, along with the original product selected. Air India will also receive 34 A350-1000 aircraft. However, those will be factory-fresh and manufactured to Air India’s specifications. Air India is the first and only customer of the A350 widebody in India. The first A350-900 was already (contractually) delivered to Air India via a GIFT City transaction.
Air India is preparing to induct the first A350-900 by December 2023
The following MSNs are currently known to be earmarked for Air India:
- 554 (VT-JRA)
- 558 (VT-JRB)
- 585 (VT-JRE)
- 589 (VT-JRF)
In fact, in October 2023, the first aircraft (VT-JRA) was also spotted at Toulouse, with engines and the new paint completed.
These A350-900 aircraft feature a brand-new, elegant cabin design. The aircraft has a spacious three-class cabin layout with 316 seats: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat seats, 24 Comfort Class with extra legroom and 264 Economy Class. In addition, the aircraft has the Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system, HD screens and Wi-Fi connectivity. Here is a look at the seat map.
Air India’s A350-900 aircraft to feature a business class with doors
Air India will receive A350-900 aircraft with 28 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and direct aisle access from all business class seats.
These are Collins Aerospace Horizon seats, similar to what Delta uses. The trims are pretty nice as well.
A bar area for business class passengers will also be right behind the cabin.
Premium Economy to feature 2-4-2 configuration, with a 3-3-3 configuration for Economy.
The premium economy seating on the A350s will be 2-4-2, making 24 seats. Some people may not like this configuration because of the 2-4-2, but it looks roomy. The seats used are the Collins Aerospace MIQ seats, which you can find on Vistara’s domestic business class on the A320neos.
And finally, the Economy looks good as well. At least the padding on the Collins Aerospace Aspire seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration, looks suitable for today’s era. The seat pitch will be 31 inches here.
Air India to rework interiors before delivery.
In the current market environment, where aircraft are hard to come by, and air traffic is booming, Air India is, of course, not going to rip apart these aircraft to put in place their vision of their ideal product, and they are going to induct these in the same LOPA as already finalised for AeroFlot. However, as per reporting by The RunwayGirl Network, the airline is spending some time making the interior look pretty, which might be moving the timeline on induction from the earlier reported November 2023 to December 2023.
The airline will rework the blue upholstery and burnt orange headrest and make it more in Air India colours (which I hope is not the red/orange combination it has used indiscriminately on erstwhile incarnations of the airline. The work is going to be taken care of by Air France Industries-KLM Engineering & Maintenance.
The December timeline now sounds certain because there is increasing chatter around another “reveal”, this time of the aircraft, as well as the new uniform of Air India staff, which is being worked upon by couturier Manish Malhotra.
Air India has indicated that all six A350-900 aircraft will be inducted into the fleet by March 2024.
Air India will induct the first A350-900 aircraft by December 2023. As a part of the induction, Air India will continue with the same LOPA and product installed on board, which was initially to be delivered to Aeroflot itself. There will also be 28 1-2-1 configuration business class seats with doors on board. Air India is preparing for the aircraft’s induction, and Air France/KLM’s MRO will fix the seat upholstery to remove the signs that this aircraft ever belonged to Aeroflot.
What do you think of the new Air India A350-900 coming soon?
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