Vietnam Airlines has opened reservations for its first Airbus A350XWB services this week. The airline will be the second operator of the new generation widebody airliner after Qatar Airways and plans to deploy the aircraft on its route between Hanoi and Paris CDG from the end of the third quarter 2015.
The Asian carrier is due to take delivery of the first of ten aircraft it has on order (plus four additional aircraft from lessors) around the middle of next year. Its first aircraft entered final assembly at the Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France in late September this year.
According to our schedules blog, Airline Route, Vietnam Airlines opened its first bookings for the A350 on December 15, 2015, with the aircraft scheduled to operate six flights per week on the Hanoi – paris CDG route from September 30, 2015. This link, one of the carrier’s premium long-range services, is currently flown by a Boeing 777.
Here’s the proposed schedule as revealed by our blog earlier today:
VN019 HAN2355 – 0700+1CDG 350 x1
VN018 CDG1400 – 0550+1CDG 350 x2
Airbus confims it is on track to deliver the first A350 to Vietnam Airlines in "mid-2015" but will not confirm a more detail delivery timetable. It is expected that the aircraft will initially be used on flights within Asia for crew familiarisation before making its schedule debut at the end of September 2015.
Ahead of its entry to service, Airbus recently concluded an eleven-day demonstration tour of the A350XWB jetliner around the fast-growing Asian market with visits to Seoul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Even before its first delivery to Qatar Airways next week, the A350XWB has proven popular in the Asia-Pacific market, with approximately one-third of its 750 total orders coming from operators in this region – placed by carriers such as AirAsia X, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.
Vietnam Airlines has a mix of A350-900s and Boeing 787-9s on order as it seeks to replace its older A330-200 and 777-200ER fleets, all of which are leased. Under its renewal strategy its nine A330-200s and nine 777-200ERs will be replaced with the modern generation equipment by the end of 2018, with additional A350s and 787s used to support a growth strategy to support Vietnam’s growing standing in the global economy.
Although no confirmed delivery schedule has been confirmed by the airline, the first 787 is expected to arrive before the middle of 2015, slightly ahead of the arrival of the first A350, expected around June or July 2015. A total of eight new aircraft are expected to arrive in the calendar year with around half of these being used for frequency or route growth.
Alongside the key Paris route which is to be served by the A350, Vietnam Airlines’ long-haul network also currently comprises Frankfurt, London and Moscow in Europe and Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. All these routes will be candidates for early 787 and A350 deployment, while growth could see additional frequencies added to these markets and the launch of much anticipated direct flights between Vietnam and the United States.