The delivery date of the first A350-900 for Sichuan Airlines is getting closer after the aircraft has performed its maiden flight in Toulouse, France. It enters the final stage of production now with a few more ground checks and test flights being envisaged before the handover. 

The Chengdu-based carrier is a long-term partner of Airbus. Their cooperation dates back to 1995 when Sichuan Airlines introduced the A320 aircraft to its fleet and became the first airline to operate an Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft in Mainland China. It was also the first to receive a Tianjin assembled A320 Family aircraft. Later, in 2010 the carrier took delivery of its first A330 jet and in 2016 it signed a Letter of Intent for leasing four A350-900s. 

The A350 family is especially suitable for the Asia-Pacific market since it combines comfort and efficiency for long-range flights. The new A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. This means great fuel and emissions reduction (about 25%), lower maintenance costs and higher comfort levels for both passengers and crew.