Exactly a month after delivery, Air India has pressed its Airbus A350 into commercial service. Today, the first Air India A350 operated its maiden revenue service. After the downfall of Jet Airways, this is the first time that an Indian airline has operated its own Airbus widebody aircraft.
The first aircraft bearing registration VT-JRA was delivered to the airline on December 23, 2023. For Air India, this aircraft is expected to be a game changer. In this article, we will have a look at the domestic routes, international routes, cabins, and refreshed products onboard the Airbus A350.
Which Routes Witness A350 Operations?
On January 22, Air India’s first Airbus A350 operated its first commercial service. It operated a flight from Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM). The maiden departure was delayed by 25 minutes from the scheduled time of 07:05 AM, taking off at 07:30 AM.
Later on, it continued its journey, covering airports like Chennai and Hyderabad. Overall, the aircraft rotation was as follows: BLR-BOM-MAA-BLR-MAA-HYD-BLR. The Airbus A350 will operate this rotation every day, except Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Airbus A350 will serve on the Bengaluru-Delhi-Bengaluru route.
Air India is currently operating the Airbus A350 on domestic routes because of crew familiarization. By mid-2024, the airline is aiming to deploy this aircraft on international routes. With a range of 15,000 kilometers, the aircraft can fly non-stop from Delhi to North American cities like New York, Chicago, Toronto, etc.
From mid-2024, Air India will start the refurbishment process of its widebody fleet. All Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s will get a new interior. For this purpose, Air India has committed $400 million. In August 2023, the airline revealed the interior of its Boeing 777-300ER fleet, with four cabins – First, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy Cabin. The first aircraft with a renovated cabin will enter into service by mid-2024.
New Product Roll Out
The Airbus A350s of Air India comes in a three-cabin configuration with Business, Premium Economy, and Economy Class. The airline has chosen to retain the Aeroflot cabin because of difficulty in provisioning of new seats.
Along with the commencement of international flights, Air India will roll out fresh Amenity kits, Chinaware, Glassware, and Cutlery onboard the widebody fleet.
The Italian luxury company Ferragamo has designed the Amenity Kits for the First and Business classes. These packages arrive in a well-curated presentation bag with Indian printing styles and include Ferragamo body lotion, hand cream, lip balm, comfortable socks, an eye mask, and a special Air India souvenir. The First Class kit also contains an Eau de Parfum, making Air India the first airline to include amenity kits into Ferragamo’s new brand concept.
Air India has updated its award-winning amenity box for Premium Economy passengers, now containing Verso skincare basics and the airline’s signature red. Economy class amenity kits, available on ultra-long-haul flights, contain an eye mask, socks, and hand lotion made of superior recyclable and reusable Kraft paper.
First and Business-class passengers will enjoy Air India’s TUMI loungewear, made from recycled materials blended with cotton for comfort. They will also receive plush velour slippers for maximum comfort during the flight.
First and business-class guests will get specially designed linen inspired by Air India’s new global brand identity. This includes sustainable and lightweight duvets and mattress toppers with a memory foam layer for an enhanced sleep experience.
The beautiful dinnerware set integrates light and robust materials with cool Mandala patterns and Indian themes, making the culinary experience feel luxurious and distinctive. The gold tiffin box-shaped salt and pepper set adds a nice Indian touch that guests will like. First-class passengers receive customized copper-gold thalis for Indian dinners. Premium Economy meals are served on light melamine plates, bowls, and glasses with fascinating Mandala patterns.
For business-class guests, there is beautiful glassware from Slovakia that is known for its transparency and great quality. The dining experience is enhanced by cool stainless-steel cutlery that is lightweight and easy to use.