PHOTO: Aeroflot’s first Airbus A350 at Toulouse

Aeroflot The main difference is the colours of the wingtips and the vertical tail (@Frenchpainter)

Aeroflot’s first Airbus A350-900 has been spotted at the European manufacturer’s Toulouse, France base. The aircraft’s livery differs from the traditional colours of Russia’s largest airline, with the wingtips painted in the colours of the Russian flag instead of the usual plain orange found on the wingtips of Aeroflot’s Airbus A330s — which are to be replaced by the new type. Another difference is the size and shape of the Russian flag on the aircraft’s vertical tail.

Aeroflot will start operating its all-new Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft during the first quarter of 2020. According to the airline’s flight schedule, published on its website, the A350-900 will fly to New York from March 29 and to Beijing from May 1. Prior to that, the new airliner will be used on several shorter crew familiarisation flights, with the likely candidate routes for these believed to be busy air lines such as Moscow to St Petersburg and Moscow to Sochi.

The addition of the new airliner will feature a three-class cabin configuration, with 28 seats in business, 24 in comfort and 264 in economy classes, reaching a total of 316.

Aeroflot, which eventually plans to add 28 Airbus A350-900s to its fleet, has so far placed firm orders for only 14. Some of these are intended to replace its A330s, as the airline plans to retire 10 such aircraft within the next three years. The A330-200 first joined the airline’s fleet in 2008.

The A350 to Aeroflot delivery schedule is seven aircraft in 2020 and a further seven in 2021.

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