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JAL Takes Delivery of Its First A350-1000

JAL's first A350-1000 took off from Toulouse for Tokyo on December 14, marking the start of a new era in the airline's long haul product offerings.

Executives and staff post in front of JAL’s first A350-1000 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Anthony An)

Japan Airlines’ (JAL) very first A350-1000, registered as JA01WJ, took off from Airbus’ manufacturing facility in Toulouse at 1:46 p.m. local time on Thursday bound for Tokyo Haneda. The new jet is set to become the carrier’s new international flagship aircraft.

JAL’s order of A350 consists of 13 A350-1000s and 18 A350-900s. 16 A350-900s have been delivered so far and according to JAL, the airline will take delivery of three A350-1000s by the end of March next year, enabling the jet to be deployed between Haneda and New York-JFK on a daily basis, in addition to a second destination which is set to be Dallas/Fort Worth.

Delivery Ceremony

A ceremony was held at the Delivery Center in Toulouse right before the jet departed for Haneda, where an audience witnessed the signing of the delivery documents by Airbus Executive Vice President Benoit de Saint-Exupery and JAL Vice President, Quality Assurance Europe, Jun Yamanaka. Executives from the engine provider, Rolls-Royce, were also present at the ceremony.

During his speech, JAL Vice President Yamanaka expressed his confidence in the A350 to deliver the world-class service that JAL has always provided while acknowledging the delays due to the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, which saw JAL pushing back the delivery several times this year.

Airbus Executive Vice President, Contracts, de Saint-Exupery, emphasized the significance of the delivery and the order. When the A350 order was finalized in 2013, it was the very first time that JAL had ordered from Airbus for any type of aircraft. On January 24 next year, it will also become the first time that JAL has used an Airbus jet to operate intercontinental revenue flights in its entire history.

Airbus and JAL executives sign delivery documents (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Anthony An)

World’s First A350-1000 With First Class Cabin

AirlineGeeks was invited to be one of the first to get onboard the new aircraft. The cabin is laid out with 239 seats, with six brand new private First Class suites featuring double beds and 4K IFE, 54 lie-flat business suites arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, 24 premium economy, and 155 economy seats at the very back.

Notably, being the eighth airline to ever receive the A350-1000, JAL will become the first one to install a First Class cabin, distinguishing itself as a premium carrier and fully utilizing the potential of the stretched version of the A350 to accommodate larger first and business class cabins.

First Class on JAL’s A350-1000 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Anthony An)

First A350-1000 in Japan

JAL was the first operator of the A350 in Japan when it received its A350-900 for domestic flights, and it will be the first operator of the large variant as well. It will become only the eighth airline in the world and fourth in Asia to operate A350-1000s, which was first delivered in 2018 to Qatar Airways. It will also be the fifth in the world, after Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, French Bee, and Air Carabeis to operate both variants of the A350. 

JAL’s first A350-1000 parked at Toulouse (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Anthony An)

With the introduction of A350-1000s, JAL’s 13-strong 777-300ER fleet will eventually make its exit. The 777 fleet has an average age of 16.8 years, with the oldest having been with JAL for over 20 years, according to Planespotters.com. JAL’s future long-haul fleet will consist of 787 Dreamliners and the A350s, while both types operate on domestic high-density routes as well.

Anthony Bang An

Author

  • Anthony Bang An

    Anthony is an airline enthusiast who also loves traveling. He grew up around the world from St. Louis to Singapore and now lives in Amsterdam. He loves long-haul flying and finds peace in the sound of engine cruising. Fresh out of high school, he aspires to be working in the aviation industry and share his passion for the sky. 

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