This is kind of exciting. Italy’s new(ish) national airline, ITA Airways, has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A350. That also means we finally get to see what ITA’s new cabins look like!
Basics of ITA’s Airbus A350s
In December 2021 ITA revealed its fleet strategy, which consists primarily of Airbus aircraft. The airline ordered A220s, A320s, and A330s, and also announced plans to lease A350s. While ITA eventually plans to take delivery of up to 13 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, it remains to be seen with what timeline that happens.
Kuwaiti aircraft leasing company ALAFCO has just delivered its first of four Airbus A350-900s to ITA Airways, which is super cool. These planes will be leased by ITA Airways for a period of 12 years, though I imagine that has the potential to be extended (well, or shortened in the event of insolvency). 😉
These four Airbus A350-900s were initially supposed to fly for Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, but that airline has been having serious financial issues, so the plane instead found a new home at ITA Airways.
While this plane hasn’t flown for an airline before, it’s not exactly new at this point, as it was produced in November 2018, so it’s well over three years old. However, Hainan was having financial issues even before the pandemic, and was unable to pay for these new jets.
I’ve gotta say, at first I was skeptical of ITA’s livery, but I think it looks really cool in “real life” (non-renderings), especially on the A350. Is it just me?
ITA Airbus A350 interiors
It looks like ITA Airways hasn’t done much to modify the interiors compared to what was planned for Hainan Airlines, and I’d consider that to be a good thing. ITA’s A350s will feature a total of 334 seats, including 33 business class seats and 301 economy class seats. More specifically:
- Business class will consists of reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
- There will be no premium economy cabin; while ITA hopes to have premium economy in the long run, that’s not happening for now, since the focus was on minimizing costs and getting these planes into service as quickly as possible
- Economy class will consist of pretty standard seats in a 3-3-3 configuration
This new business class is a significant improvement over anything that Alitalia or ITA offered up to this point. As far as the cabin finishes go, there are definitely some mild customizations to the finishes (like the red shoulder straps in business class), but overall I’d say the cabin looks fairly bland.
I can’t wait to fly ITA’s A350!
ITA Airbus A350 will fly to New York
ITA Airways plans to use A350s for long haul routes to North and South America. It would appear that this plane has initially been scheduled on the Rome (FCO) to New York (JFK) route. That makes sense, as it’s ITA’s flagship long haul route. As of June 16, 2022, the A350 should operate the route with the following schedule:
AZ608 Rome to New York departing 10:25AM arriving 2:00PM
AZ609 New York to Rome departing 4:15PM arriving 6:40AM (+1 day)
This flight covers a distance of 4,277 miles, and is blocked at 9hr35min westbound and 8hr25min eastbound. As you can see based on the schedule, a single plane can operate the rotation daily.
ITA has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A350, which marks an exciting milestone for the airline. The first four leased A350s were initially supposed to fly for Hainan Airlines, and there haven’t been many changes made to the interiors. We can expect that the first A350 will enter service by June, initially flying to New York.
What do you make of ITA’s Airbus A350s?