Delta’s newest widebody and flagship aircraft, the state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900, is taking shape at the planemaker’s massive Toulouse, France, assembly facility.
This week, the characteristic sweeping winglets were added to Ship 3501, emblazoned with the Delta logo, unique to the A350 paint scheme.
Large portions of the fuselage, wings, tail and other components began arriving in Toulouse in January, marking the beginning of the final assembly process and years’ worth of work to bring the 306-seat widebody jet to Delta’s fleet.
Over the next several months, two massive Rolls Royce Trent 7000 XWB engines will be hung on its wings, sidewalls and overhead bins mounted and the industry’s first all-suite business class cabin installed, among other accouterment. Prior to its first flight, the plane will be painted from nose to tail.
Expected to begin service this fall, the A350-900 will be deployed primarily on routes across the Pacific.
Delta anticipates taking delivery of five of the widebody airliners before the year is done and will be outfitted with 32 Delta One suites, 48 seats in the Delta Premium Select cabin and 226 Main Cabin seats.
The economically efficient A350 will replace older Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which is slated for retirement at the end of the year. Delta has 25 Airbus A350s on order with the European aircraft manufacturer. The airline will also take delivery of A330-900neo aircraft in 2019 as part of a broader international widebody fleet renewal.