Toulouse - Yesterday, Air China officially took possession of its first of ten A350-900 ordered. The Chinese national flag carrier is the first carrier on the mainland to order and take ownership of the European manufacturer's twin-engine widebody.

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, Air China’s A350-900 is configured to accommodate 32 passengers in Business Class, 24 in Premium and 256 in Economy ( 312 seats in total).

Its entry into service is scheduled for August 14 from Shanghai to Hongqiao on flight CA1557. Chengdu and Guangzhou airports will also be used for crew training.

Air China is expected to receive another four A350-900s by the end of the year. It has not been announced yet what would be their first intercontinental destination, or whether they would be deployed on the current routes between China and Europe.

The Star Alliance company operates 201 Airbus aircraft including 142 A320 family aircraft (including 3 of the 33 A320neo aircraft ordered) and 59 A330 family aircraft (30 330-200, 29 A330-300), out of a total of 401 aircraft.

Raising the bar in efficiency and comfort for the long-haul flights, the A350 family is especially well fitted to the needs of airlines from Asia-Pacific region. To date, firm orders for the A350 family from operators in the region represent over a third of total sales for the type.