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First JAL A350-1000 Flight Takes Off for JFK

The first A350-1000 in revenue service took off from Haneda with 206 passengers, marking a new era in JAL's long-haul fleet.

JAL’s first A350-1000 aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Anthony An)

Japanese carrier JAL’s first A350-1000 revenue flight took off from Tokyo Haneda Airport on January 24 for New York JFK as JL6. The flight marks a new era in JAL’s international offering and the first time in over 20 years that JAL has upgraded its long-haul aircraft.

The A350-1000 for JAL was delivered in December last year during a ceremony in Toulouse. The aircraft has 239 seats with a rather premium heavy configuration, similar to the 777-300ERs that the aircraft is set to replace. According to the Japan News, the first flight had 209 passengers onboard. JL6 was also the first A350-1000 flight in the world with a first class cabin and dimmable windows, among other cabin innovations. 

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

The new flagship for the Japanese carrier will fly between Haneda and JFK four times a week until the second A350-1000 is delivered, which will see a daily A350 service on the route. The second destination will be Dallas/Fort Worth, which will commence after more aircraft arrive. 

The flight departed in the shadow of the recent accident involving a JAL A350-900 at Tokyo Haneda, which resulted in the hull loss of the aircraft and causalities in a Japanese Coast Guard aircraft. Preliminary investigation suggests that the accident was not caused by JAL pilots or the aircraft design but rather a miscommunication made by the Japanese Coast Guard pilots. 

Upgraded Interior 

AirlineGeeks had the chance to see the cabin before its delivery. The new airplane will feature 239 seats, with six in first, 54 in business, 24 in premium economy, and 155 in economy class. Regarding cabin floor space, the premium cabin will occupy door 1 to door 3, with only the very last section of the cabin for economy class. 

The first class cabin is configured in a 1-1-1 arrangement, with sofa seats that can be turned into a double bed and 4K personal IFE screens. There are sliding doors for privacy, and all overhead compartments are removed to create space. The Business Class seats have a 1-2-1 configuration with private suites that come with doors and dividers. Each lie-flat seat has a personal IFE screen, plenty of storage, and a smart cushion.

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

JAL has stated that many Japanese elements are consciously incorporated into the designs of the seats and cabins. Especially in business class, the Japanese rice paper wall, or Shoji, is incorporated in sliding doors and closets. The individual lights also carry an Eastern flair.

A350-1000, the Rising Star 

Though not having been as successful as its smaller variant, the A350-900, the type is gaining momentum coming into 2024. Less than a month into 2024, Airbus has already announced two orders for its A350-1000s. Delta Air Lines is set to purchase 20 of the type, with another 20 options to be delivered starting from 2026. The type will give the airline much-needed capacity for significant international connections. 

EVA Air also announced a significant order of 18 A350-1000s and a number of A321neos in 2024. The airline will replace some of its 777-300ERs with the Airbus jet in its international network.

In 2023, Airbus received orders from Air Algerie, Ethiopian, Philippine Airlines, Air France-KLM, Turkish Airlines, and Air India, with over 60 firm orders last year. It is proving to be a serious contender for airlines worldwide looking to expand or replace their older fleet. 

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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