TAM Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350 XWB widebody and the aircraft landed in TAM’s home nation of Brazil in the early hours of December 18.
The aircraft is the first A350 XWB to be operated in the Americas. The A350-900 left Airbus’ widebody assembly facility in Toulouse on December 17 and flew directly to Belo Horizonte’s Confins International Airport to obtain its Brazilian registration, which is PR-XTA.
TAM’s first A350-900 is configured in a two-class layout with 348 passenger seats, 30 Premium Business class and 318 Economy seats.
It is expected to arrive at TAM’s main base at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport on December 19.
TAM has scheduled the inaugural commercial flight of the A350 XWB to take place in January, from São Paulo Guarulhos to Manaus in Brazil’s Amazonas state.
Initial domestic services with the aircraft will allow TAM’s operational departments to become thoroughly familiar with the new aircraft type, according to the airline.
TAM will then begin operating the A350-900 on long-haul international services in March, between Guarulhos and Miami.
In April, the aircraft will begin flying from São Paulo to Madrid and in the second half of the year TAM will begin operating A350-900s from São Paulo to Orlando.
TAM, a member of LATAM Airlines Group, is the fourth airline in the world to receive and operate the Airbus A350 XWB.
The carrier has ordered 27 A350 XWB widebodies, which Airbus values at US$7 billion at list prices.
Deliveries of the 27 jets are scheduled to be completed in 2021. TAM plans to take delivery of six A350 XWBs in 2016.
TAM’s fourth A350-900, due for delivery in June, will come with a three-class passenger cabin installed. TAM is adding Economy Plus, offering more legroom between seats.
The aircraft will offer 30 seats in Premium Business class, 63 in Economy Plus and 246 in Economy Class.
In September, LATAM Airlines Group changed its A350 XWB order to replace six A350-900s with six A350-1000s, which are larger than A350-900s and will be able to carry more passengers.
TAM first became an Airbus operator in 1998, with the A330-200. Together, LATAM Airlines Group carriers LAN and TAM have ordered nearly 380 Airbus aircraft and have more than 250 in service.
LATAM is the biggest Airbus customer in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the top 10 Airbus customers worldwide.
To date, Airbus has delivered 13 A350 XWBs to four customers in four continents. Airbus has firm orders so far for 775 A350 XWB widebodies from 41 customers worldwide.