South African Airways has taken delivery of its first A350 today. Arriving midafternoon from the paint shop in Singapore, ZS-SDC is the first of four A350s set to arrive with the carrier this year. All four are on lease for three years, and will be operational by mid-December.
SAA’s first A350 has arrived
After being spotted freshly painted in full South African Airways colors just yesterday, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the airline’s very first A350-900 arrived with the carrier. And indeed we did not have to wait long at all, as it touched down in Johannesburg this afternoon.
ZS-SDC, MSN226, traveled on special flight number HU3040 from Singapore, and under its old Hainan registration of B-304Z. The flight took off just before 11am UTC, and touched down in Jo’berg at 15:41.
The A350 sports a slightly amended livery, featuring larger titles in ‘billboard’ style. You have to admit, it sure does look pretty in South African Airways’ colors.
According to reports on social media, MSN345 is also on lease to SAA from Hainan Airlines. This aircraft, previously registered by Hainan as B-305Z, is already in Singapore and undergoing repainting. Both the Hainan Airlines A350s are just nine months old.
SAA’s A350s are powered by the inimitable Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, a highly efficient powerhouse especially designed for the A350. Ryan Goodnight, Rolls-Royce, Vice President – Customers, commented in a statement,
“We warmly welcome the arrival of South African Airways’ first Airbus A350, powered by our Trent XWB engines. Rolls-Royce has a long and proud history of working with South African Airways and we deeply value our close relationship. The decision to bring A350s to the South African Airways’ fleet ensures that our partnership will remain strong for many years to come.”