Air India set to fly Dubai with Airbus A350 planes | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Air India set to fly Dubai with Airbus A350 planes

Apr 18, 2024 07:14 PM IST

A350-900 seats 316 passengers, featuring new amenity kits and luxurious bedding.

Tata-owned Air India has announced the deployment of its Airbus A350 to its first overseas destination. The closely guarded secret is now out with the airline deciding to deploy the Airbus A350 to Dubai from its New Delhi hub.

The A350 is part of the 470 new aircraft order that Air India placed in February last year. (Reuters photo)
The A350 is part of the 470 new aircraft order that Air India placed in February last year. (Reuters photo)

The change started reflecting in the booking engines a short while ago. The airline will replace the B787 Dreamliner on AI995 and AI996 with the flight departing Delhi as AI995 at forty-five minutes past eight in the evening and reaching Dubai at forty-five minutes past ten in the night local time. The return flight will be AI996 which departs Dubai at fifteen minutes past midnight and reaches Delhi, five minutes to five in the morning. The flight operates Daily with services from Delhi starting on May 01, and those from Dubai starting on May 02.

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Read: Airbus A350 joins Air India fleet: What new services can you expect?

Air India’s A350-900 seats 316 passengers in a three-class configuration: 28 in business, 24 in premium economy, and 264 in economy and the airline has received four of these aircraft in India, while Airbus Orders And Deliveries data shows all six being delivered, from the first lot. These six were initially meant for Aeroflot - but never delivered as the Russia - Ukraine war led to sanctions on deliveries. While the configuration remains the same as what Aeroflot had ordered, Air India has ensured there are no traces of Aeroflot branding in the entire plane. The planes have been doing extensive runs in domestic skies since January for crew training and familiarisation.

A new dawn for the airline

The airline revealed its soft product at Wings India in January this year. A new amenity kit, a luxurious and sustainable bedding refresh, as well as new Chinaware, cutlery, and glassware, would be part of the international rollout of the A350-900, the airline had said.

The Business and First class amenity kits would be by the world-renowned Italian lux fashion house - Ferragamo. This would include a body lotion, hand cream, lip balm, socks and eye mask. The bespoke bags have unique motifs which celebrate different printing styles of India. It would also have a specially designed Air India collectable. The premium economy class would have TUMI kits which will see Verso - a renowned Swedish brand’s skincare products. Economy class amenity kits will be provided only on ultra-long-haul flights - including an eye mask, socks, and hand lotion, and are made using premium quality recyclable and reusable Kraft paper.

Read: Air India begins commercial operations of country’s 1st A350 aircraft

There is more to the whole experience. First and Business class guests will have Air India’s TUMI loungewear, Air India’s TUMI loungewear is made from recycled materials blended with cotton for extra softness and breathability. First- and Business-class guests will also enjoy plush velour slippers for maximal comfort in the sky. The linen also is seeing an upgrade, with special linen for First and Business class guests. The multi-layer material, including memory foam, will enhance the long-haul experience. The delicate jacquard border and the motif are inspired by the traditional Sozni embroidery of Jammu & Kashmir. Premium Economy and Economy guests will enjoy the comfort and warmth in a twill weave cabin blanket designed to reflect the new brand elements.

The dining experience also gets elevated with tiffin box-shaped salt pepper set in gold finish being the highlight. First-class guests will receive exclusive, copper-gold thalis for Indian meals. In Premium Economy, meals will be served in lightweight melamine material tableware, with etched Mandala patterns on side plates, bowls, and multipurpose glass.

Competition

Emirates - the main competition for Air India on this route, which is known for the opulence in its Business class. Air India's deployment to Dubai ensures that the airline can compete with Emirates and help raise fares, but the deployment is restricted to just one of many flights.

Operationally, a quick turnaround flight without a crew change is what helps Air India train more and more crew sets on the new service levels.

Tail Note

When the airline unveiled its branding in August 2023, the registration on the plane showed F-UBAI. While it looked like it stood for Future Brands Air India, with Future Brands being the organisation which designed this. Social media reacted to it with a dig at Emirates with the words close to DUBAI.

With the airline making a low-key announcement of flights to Dubai with the A350, the focus now shifts on when its long-haul network will be revealed to truly enjoy the new experience.

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