JAL Holds In-house Ceremony to Receive First Airbus A350-1000

JAL's first Airbus A350-1000 arriving at Haneda Airport

Japan Airlines (JAL) celebrated the arrival of its first Airbus A350-1000 (aircraft registration: JA01WJ) at Haneda Airport on the morning of December 15th, which will be introduced as new international flight equipment. In the hangar, around 100 employees, including JAL President Yuji Akasaka, dressed in red vests, welcomed the aircraft with banners during the ceremony.

After taking delivery in Toulouse, France, the first A350-1000 left on the afternoon of December 14th at 1:13 PM local time. It took a southern route passing over countries like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, landing on Haneda Airport’s A Runway (RWY34L) at 10:26 AM on the 15th. The first aircraft was then towed by a tug to Hangar 211 where about 100 employees were waiting, before being pushed back into the hangar for the commemorative ceremony.

JAL employees celebrating the new Airbus A350-1000

At the ceremony, the crew of flight JL8102, Captains Takeshi Minami, Makoto Takao, and First Officer Takayuki Mizuochi, made their appearance on the stairs attached to the new aircraft. The event started with applause from President Akasaka and gathered employees.

President Akasaka in his speech said, “This is an extraordinary opportunity we are witnessing,” expressing joy over the airline’s flagship aircraft renewal for the first time in about 20 years. Regarding the A350-1000’s specifications, he highlighted, “This time, we have installed private suite seats in first and business classes so that each customer can enjoy their own time and space.” He further explained the aircraft’s fuel efficiency, stating, “It offers about 25% improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to the 777-300ER. For the New York route, it means approximately 200 fewer drums of fuel,” emphasizing its eco-friendliness.

Interior of JAL's new Airbus A350-1000

The A350-1000 will be deployed on Tokyo/Haneda to New York routes starting January 2024 and will subsequently be introduced on Dallas/Fort Worth routes. Akasaka shared a humorous incident that Airbus was perplexed why the American routes were prioritized before European routes given it is a European airplane. “We think it will follow that sequence with other aircraft we receive towards European routes,” he added, revealing plans for the future expansion of the airline’s fleet. He then expressed desire for the employees to nurture this new A350 to operate for a long time to come.

JAL crew members at the ceremony

As the representative of the ferry flight crew, Captain Minami spoke about the A350-1000 saying, “This airplane will become a bridge across the world. It leads the way in low fuel consumption.” He emphasized JAL’s commitment to the environment, mentioning the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for the day’s flight and the airline’s promise to society to use such eco-friendly fuels to some extent in the future.

The first A350-1000 will start operation on the Tokyo/Haneda to New York route from January 24, 2024. Initially, the flight will operate every other day, and once the second aircraft is introduced within the fiscal year, the route will be served daily. The cabin configuration offers 6 seats in first class, 54 in business class, 24 in premium economy, and 155 in economy class, totaling 239 seats. Both first class and business class feature the first-ever private suite type with doors for JAL.

Airbus A350-1000 on the runway

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