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Fiji Airways takes delivery of first Airbus A350-900

written by WOFA | November 18, 2019
Celebrations at Airbus headquarters Toulouse for Fiji Airways' first A350-900. (Airbus)
Celebrations at Airbus headquarters Toulouse for Fiji Airways’ first A350-900. (Airbus)

Fiji Airways has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 from the manufacturer’s Toulouse, France headquarters.

The delivery ceremony for the first A350-900 to be flown by an airline based in Oceania took place on Friday (European time).

After the formalities were complete, the A350-900 DQ-FAI was flown to the Dubai Airshow, where the aircraft has been on display since Sunday.

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https://www.facebook.com/fijiairways/videos/vb.132911020105248/2435688816558000/?type=3&theater
VIDEO: The delivery ceremony at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France, from the Fiji Airways Facebook page.

Fiji Airways has ordered two A350-900s. Both were being leased from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) Capital.

The airline has said previously it planned to deploy the next generation widebody on its services to the United States and Australia, as well as potentially open new routes. The first two routes were recently publicly announced as Nadi-Los Angeles and Nadi-Sydney.

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The A350-900s have been configured to carry 334 passengers in a two-class layout, comprising 33 B/E Aerospace Super Diamond business class seats that offer direct aisle access for every passenger and 301 Recaro CL3710 economy class seats.

An infographic on the Fiji Airways A350-900. (Airbus)
An infographic on the Fiji Airways A350-900. (Airbus)
A file image of Fiji Airways' first Airbus A350-900 in flight. (Airbus)
A file image of Fiji Airways’ first Airbus A350-900 in flight. (Airbus)

Currently, Fiji Airways has five A330-200s and one A330-300, as well as Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 narrowbodies.

Two of the A330-200s were picked up in 2018 on short term leases while the airline evaluated its future long-haul aircraft needs.

Fiji Airways flies to three destinations in the United States – Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, it serves three Australian ports – Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney – from its Nadi hub with a mixture of mixture of Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 equipment. The airline also flies between Suva and Sydney.

In recent years, Fiji Airways has been keen to attract Australians heading to the United States to consider a one-stop option via Nadi.

The A330 shares a common type rating with the A350. Pilots qualified and current on the A330 would be able to fly the A350 by taking a “differences training” course, Airbus said, resulting in significant cost savings and operational flexibility.

A file image of Fiji Airways' first Airbus A350-900. (Airbus)
A file image of Fiji Airways’ first Airbus A350-900. (Airbus)
Fiji Airways' first A350-900 ahead of its delivery flight from Toulouse. (Airbus)
Fiji Airways’ first A350-900 ahead of its delivery flight from Toulouse. (Airbus)

While Fiji Airways is the first airline in the South Pacific to order the A350 in the South Pacific, the aircraft is a regular presence at a number of Australian and New Zealand airports, with the likes of Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Qatar Airways operating the type to this part of the world.

At the end of October, Airbus had 913 orders for the A350 family of aircraft. Of those, 320 have been delivered, leaving a backlog of 593 aircraft.


VIDEO: A look at the making of Fiji Airways’ first A350-900 from the Airbus YouTube channel.

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