Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Delta Announces New Routes for the Airbus A350

Delta is the first U.S. airline to take delivery of a next-generation Airbus A350 jet. The airline will begin operating commercial flights using the new plane later this month, starting with a route from Detroit to Toyko Narita followed by subsequent routes from Detroit to Seoul Incheon and Beijing.

At a launch event yesterday in Atlanta, though, the airline announced even more routes that it intends to fly with the A350.

Here is a full list of routes that we know about so far:

Detroit (DTW) – Tokyo (NRT) starting October 30, 2017
Detroit (DTW) – Seoul (ICN) starting November 18, 2017
Detroit (DTW) – Beijing (PEK) starting January 17, 2018
Atlanta (ATL) – Seoul (ICN) starting March 24, 2018
Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) starting March 31, 2018
Detroit (DTW) to Shanghai (PVG) starting April 19, 2018

There are two interesting things to note here. First, it appears that the A350 fleet will, at least at first, be based out of the airline’s hub in Detroit, so all these flights except the one originating in Atlanta will be flown out of there.

Second, it looks like the airline will try to use these planes to consolidate its network to Asia out of the Midwest and the East Coast, funneling passengers through Detroit, while just a single route to begin with will operate in the other direction to Europe, flying to the airline’s SkyTeam partner, KLM’s, hub in Amsterdam.

Delta has a total order of 25 A350s, so we should eventually start seeing them fly to a number of other destinations as well as the airline uses them to retire older jets.

Part of what makes this such an exciting development is the introduction of an all-new all-suites business class cabin onboard. The A350 will have 32 of these new suites onboard, arranged in a 1 – 2 – 1 configuration. The Thompson Vantage XL seats all have closing doors, and recline to beds that are 21 inches wide and up to 81 inches long. They will also feature 18-inch hi-res touchscreen entertainment systems and 2Ku Wi-Fi.

Delta’s A350s also have 48 of the airline’s new Premium Select economy seats and 226 Main Cabin regular economy seats.

(Eric Rosen - Forbes)

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