Delta Air Lines has become the first carrier in North America to take delivery of Airbus’ new A350 widebody jet.
The Atlanta-based airline officially took possession of its first A350 on Thursday at the Airbus assembly line in Toulouse, France. The A350 is the first of 25 that Delta has ordered. The company expects to have five A350s in its fleet by the end of the year and 15 by the end of 2018, according to FlightGlobal.
Delta will use its A350s to help phase out its Boeing 747 jets, which the carrier plans to retire later this year. Delta’s A350s will be configured with 306 seats, including 32 of its new “Delta One” business-class suites and 48 of its new international-style “Premium Select” premium economy seats.
Delta will base its first A350s at its Detroit hub, where they’ll fly routes to Asia. Delta’s first announced A350 route is Detroit-Tokyo Narita; the airline’s A350s will begin taking over flights on that route beginning Oct. 30.
PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at Delta Air Lines (story continues below)
“The Airbus A350 sets a new standard of flying experience for our customers, representing years of product innovation as Delta continues to transform into a leading global carrier,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. “Our new flagship A350 fits well in Delta’s long-haul network, combining an exceptional customer experience with strong operating economics and fuel-efficiency as we retire older, less-efficient aircraft.”
With the delivery, Delta becomes the first North American airline to take delivery of the A350. South American carrier LATAM Airlines took its first model of the jet in 2015. Qatar Airways…