Airbus boss joins dignitaries in A350 flight, of which Vietnam Airlines has purchased ten and will lease four more.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders has visited Vietnam to accompany Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and Vietnam Airlines' CEO Pham Ngoc Minh on an Airbus A350 demonstration flight in Hanoi on November 22.
Vietnam Airlines has ten A350 XWBs on order and will also acquire four more under leasing agreements. Minister Thang expressed his appreciation of Vietnam Airlines' efforts to develop its fleet and its service quality in reinforcing its position as the national flag carrier.
Minister Thang also revealed that the Prime Minister had agreed in-principle with the purchase of a large fleet of Airbus A380. He underlined, however, his expectation that Airbus would not only help Vietnam Airlines to develop its fleet but also support Vietnam in developing its aviation industry.
Vietnam Airlines will become one of the first airlines in the world to fly the A350 XWB aircraft, in the middle of next year. Production of the first aircraft is already underway at the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France. The carrier will operate its A350 XWB fleet on premium long-haul routes, beginning with services between Hanoi and Paris.
The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line and is a direct rival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Seating up to 369 passengers in a two-class layout, it can fly non-stop for up to 8,000 nautical miles. It features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, and new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions and significantly lowering maintenance costs.
The A350 XWB has been especially successful in the Asia-Pacific region, where airlines have ordered a total of 244, representing one-third of the 750 orders received worldwide to date. In addition to Vietnam Airlines, major customers in the region include Asiana Airlines, Air China, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.