MIAMI — The first Airbus A350 for Delta Air Lines will conduct its delivery flight from Toulouse, France to Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. The aircraft, N501DN, will take off from Toulouse around 9:00 p.m. and land in Atlanta around 11:30 p.m. in the late evening.
Unlike the delivery flight for the first 242T A330-300, Delta will not be flying specially selected employees (Part of Delta’s Chairman’s Club) on the first A350 delivery flight. Instead, these employees will fly on the delivery flight for the second A350 in a few weeks.
There are currently five additional Delta A350s undergoing various stages of assembly. At this time, the second A350 for Delta is at the Airbus Delivery Center in Toulouse awaiting customer flights. That aircraft, N502DN, will likely make its delivery flight in early September.
The third Delta A350 is having its cabin installed or as Airbus calls it, ‘Station 20.’ The fourth Delta A350 is at ‘Station 18’ undergoing outdoor ground tests ahead of cabin fit. Finally, the fifth and sixth Delta A350s are undergoing final assembly.
The Delta A350-900 will be the first aircraft fitted with the new Delta One Suite and premium economy cabin. The aircraft will have 32 Delta One Suites, 48 Delta Premium Select seats, and 226 economy seats. In total, the A350 will seat 306 passengers.
The first Delta A350 commercial flight will be on October 30th from Detroit to Tokyo-Narita. The A350 is set to replace the Boeing 747-400 as Delta’s flagship aircraft. The first crew base for the A350 will be Detroit.
Delta says the A350 will “continue Delta’s optimization of its Pacific network, operating primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia.” The aircraft is expected to generate a 20% improvement in operating costs compared to the 747-400.
After Tokyo-Narita, the A350 will fly from Detroit to Seoul beginning November 16th and Beijing beginning January 17th.