Thai Airways International (THAI) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft, marking the start of a major new phase in the national carrier’s fleet modernisation strategy.
The new twin-aisle aircraft was handed over to THAI in a major ceremony at the Airbus factory in Toulouse, attended by THAI’s president Charamporn Jotikasthira and Airbus’ president & CEO Fabrice Bregier.
It becomes the first of 12 A350s set to join the airline’s fleet, and its arrival makes THAI one of three airlines in the world to operate Airbus’ two newest long-haul models – the A350 and A380.
These new aircraft, along with a new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, will gradually replace THAI’s older B777-200 and B747-400 jets on medium- and long-haul routes.
The first A350, which has been bestowed the royal Thai name of “Wichian Buri”, comes equipped with 321 seats in two classes. These include 32 Royal Thai flat-bed seats in the business class cabin and 289 economy class seats in the main cabin.
All passengers are offered in-seat power outlets, Wi-Fi, and personal in-flight entertainment with 16-inch monitors in business class and 21-inch seat-back screens in economy. The economy class seats have a 32-inch (81.3cm) pitch, which rises to 41-46 inches on Royal Thai class.
Initially, the new aircraft will be deployed on domestic services between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, before being launched on the long-haul routes, starting with Bangkok-Melbourne.
The world’s A350 operators (as of 31 August 2016)