Air India’s A350-900 to fly to Dubai as the first international destination for the aircraft

A sales campaign launched by Airbus in 2022 finally culminated with Air India taking delivery of the airline’s first A350-900 aircraft in December 2023. The plane was flown into Delhi Airport. Since then, the airline has received three more A350-900 aircraft, with the fourth, VT-JRH, arriving in India on April 9, 2024.

Air India will operate flights to Dubai with the A350-900 from May 1, 2024 onwards.

As is the norm, when a new aircraft type enters the fleet, it is not directly sent for international operations. The cockpit crew needs to operate the flight domestically to gain experience with the plane and familiarise themselves with it. The requirement is 100 sectors. Now that Air India has the 100 required sectors, it is taking baby steps into international flights for the aircraft.

Air India put VT-JRA into commercial service on January 22, 2024, and VT-JRB into commercial service on February 15, 2024. Both aircraft are based in Bengaluru and fly between Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Once a week, they will fly between Bengaluru and Delhi for checks and maintenance. I flew all three cabins in one go, and so far, managed to write about the first leg in business class.

Air India is now going to deploy the aircraft on international flights, but to a regional sector, to manage the entry into service better than directly deploying the aircraft on a long-haul flight. The first sector where Air India will take the aircraft abroad will be Delhi – Dubai and back, effective May 1, 2024.

The schedule of flights is as follows.

  • AI 995 operating DEL – DXB / 2045 – 2245 / operates daily
  • AI 996 operating DXB – DEL / 0015 – 0455 / operates daily

This flight is operated with the Boeing 787-8 of Air India at the moment and will be taken over by the A350-900 effective May 1, 2024.

a plane flying in the sky

VT-JRE Arriving into Delhi (Picture Credit: Sandeep Pilania)

Flights are on sale now, although the route shows the Boeing 787-8 and not the A350.

What should you expect on board Air India’s A350-900?

Air India’s A350-900 aircraft comes in a three-class cabin configuration with 316 seats designed by Collins Aerospace: 28 private Business Class suites with full-flat beds, 24 Premium Economy seats with extra legroom and multiple other differentiating features, and 264 spacious Economy Class seats. All seats on the aircraft feature the latest-generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system and HD screens to provide a superior flying experience. You can read all about the products in the cabin in our detailed note. 

an airplane with rows of seats

Air India’s A350-900 Business Class

a row of seats in an airplane

Air India’s A350-900 Premium Economy Class

a row of red seats in an airplane

Air India’s A350-900 Economy Class

While the Airbus A350-900 to Dubai might just be to monitor the aircraft’s and the pilots’ performance before flying it further to Europe, it could also be a statement of intent to the colleagues in Dubai, which have a nice airline operation in India. But it is also a market that pays willingly for a good premium product. With flights to Dubai, only one set of crew can operate the onward and return flights.


Air India has put out the first international flights for sale, which will be operated with its A350-900 aircraft between Delhi and Dubai once daily. Book your tickets here. The flights to Dubai with the A350-900 launch on May 1, 2024.

Are you heading on one of the flights operated by Air India to Dubai?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I had travelled from Hyderabad to Chennai last week end and got the opportunity to upgrade my economy class ticket to business class for around 5,700/- and opted for it. I thought it was normal business class but I stunned after saw the business class suites.
    Now I understood about this domestic trail routes before the flight operates internationally.

    Glad I am experienced top class business suit for nominal price, though it was 1 hr short journey 🙂

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