A350 – A potential game changer for Air India

Air India began commercial operations with its first wide-bodied A350 aircraft on 22nd January 2024. The aircraft, which seats 316 people, has a three-class cabin layout. This comprises 28 private business suites, 24 elite economy seats, and 264 economy seats. Air India has placed an order for 470 new aircraft, including the A350.

Initial start from Mumbai to Chennai

Flight AI 589 left Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport for Chennai. It carried a full load of passengers anxious to experience the new Air India.

Initial domestic operations

  • While the aircraft has an operating distance of 9,500 miles, it will first fly locally while the cabin crew becomes acquainted with the onboard routines. 
  • It will fly domestically between Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

International and long-distance routes by mid-2024

  • This flight marks the start of its operation on long-haul flights to multiple continents by mid-2024, expanding Air India’s wide-body fleet. 
  • The fleet includes both owned and newly leased aircraft, which strengthens their standing in the aviation business.
  • Air India intends to usher in a new era by providing outstanding amenities and a greater passenger experience on its new aircraft. 
  • This will not only improve the passenger journey but will also provide potential for expansion by opening up new routes. 
  • Air India’s goal of becoming an internationally known airline requires significant fleet and product enhancements. 
  • The company’s emphasis on network development and fleet modernization poses direct competition to Middle Eastern carriers like Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, among others.

A350 -900 aircraft configuration

A350 -900 aircraft configuration

Air India’s A350-900 has three classes: Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy. 

  • The Business Class cabin has 28 seats (1-2-1 arrangement), positioned between doors 1 and 2. The Premium Economy section has 24 seats (2-4-2 layout) and is located behind the Door 2 Galley. 
  • The greater part of the aircraft is designated for Economy Class, with 264 seats (3-3-3 arrangement).

The Business Class

  • The new business-class seats promote privacy and have doors that match the present trend. 
  • They may be changed into comfy beds and have individual wardrobes and storage for electronics, toiletries, and shoes. 
  • Additionally, the chairs include 21-inch HD LCDs and video handsets. 
  • Ferragamo provides passengers with amenity packs. 
  • An onboard humidifier has been installed in the business cabin.

The Premium Economy Class

  • The MiQ chairs are 18.5″ wide and provide the option of dropping the armrest for additional room. With its ergonomic structure, adjustable leg rest, tilting backrests, and movable headrests, these chairs define comfort and practicality. 
  • They also have a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, plenty of storage space, a spacious tray surface, and a built-in entertainment system to improve the passenger experience.

The Economy Class

  • The chairs in the economy class have a flexible structure that is both lightweight and comfy. 
  • They feature a seat width of 17.5 inches and a recline of up to 6 inches. 
  • The adjustable headrest may be positioned in four different ways, and there is a 12-inch HD display for entertainment. 
  • Additional amenities include a large literature pocket, conveniently accessible power connections, and overall ease for a good night’s nap in the Economy cabin.

Air India, led by JRD Tata, was previously noted for its superb service and elegant décor. However, the airline has recently faced financial challenges, political intervention, and inefficiencies that are prevalent in public-sector firms.

This has caused a decrease in service quality, with run-down planes and bad maintenance being linked with the national airline. Following the company’s privatization and its sale to the Tata Group, Air India is working to reclaim its former prominent standing through the launch of new quality aircraft such as the A350.

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