The all-new A350 XWB handed over to Vietnam Airlines
Airbus Group pledged to support Vietnamese air carriers in developing fleet and personnel, its CEO Thomas Enders said in a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday.
Enders was in Vietnam to attend a ceremony for the hand-over of the all-new A350 XWB aircraft to the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport the same day, Vietnam News Agency reported.
He said Vietnam is the first customer in Asia and the second in the world to order and operate these long-range, twin-engine wide-body airliners.
Airbus is willing to work with Vietnam in the areas of military airplanes and aerospace as well as building and operating aircraft maintenance, and repairing facilities, he added.
For his part, PM Dung spoke highly of cooperation between Airbus Group and Vietnamese airlines in recent years and urged Airbus to implement the contract of handing 10 A350 XWBs to Vietnam Airlines by 2019.
He suggested that both sides design long-term cooperation strategies where Airbus would further assist Vietnam in training personnel and developing technical infrastructure, including maintenance facilities and aircraft component factories.
Vietnam is willing to discuss and cooperate with Airbus in aerospace and military technology, especially transport aircrafts and defense equipments, he added.
On Tuesday, the A350-900 aircraft was delivered to global lessor AerCap on lease to Vietnam Airlines for operation on long haul routes in a special ceremony in Toulouse.
The aircraft was delivered to the carrier the following day. Altogether, Vietnam Airlines is set to acquire 14 A350 XWBs, including 10 ordered from Airbus and four from lessors.
Vietnam Airlines will inaugurate commercial service with the A350 XWB on Friday, initially on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh domestic sector and on non-stop flights from Hanoi to Paris in late September and from HCMC to Paris in October.
The aircraft is configured with a premium three class layout, with 29 seats that convert to full flat beds in Business Class, 45 seats in Premium Economy and 231 in Economy. In addition to more personal space in all classes, the aircraft features the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems throughout.
Vietnam Airlines’ new A350 XWB will join an existing Airbus fleet of 59 aircraft flying with the carrier, comprising 49 A321s and 10 A330s.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new family of widebody aircraft that is shaping the future of medium- to long-haul airline operations. The "XWB" in the name means "extra wide body."