Japan Airlines (JAL) took delivery of their first A350 on 13 June 2019 and I was there to attend the delivery ceremony. It was a historical moment for Airbus as it was the first ever Airbus ordered and delivered to JAL.
The First Domestic A350
Today in Tokyo, JAL have finally revealed their A350 cabin interiors. JAL's new A350 will be entering domestic service exclusively, so it is the first domestic A350 in the world!
JAL intend to use the A350 to replace their aging B777-200 on domestic routes. It may seem to be a strange service for an airline to put a brand new A350 on but you may remember JAL operated many B747's on domestic routes until late 2000s! Currently the domestic/international revenue split for JAL is 50/50 so domestic Japan routes are significant for JAL.
The new JAL A350-900 will have a reduced takeoff weight of just 217 tons. (a normal A350 has 275 tons MTOW). With the reduced engine thrust and less weight it is a good fit for domestic high cycle operation.
JAL’s A350-900 is configured in a premium three class layout, with 12 seats in First Class, 94 in Class J and 263 in Economy.
As JAL intend to use the new A350 to replace the B777 on domestic routes. The new economy seating on A350 (9 abreast in 3-3-3) is an improvement over the current B777 which is 10 abreast seating. (3-4-3)
There are 12 First Class seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration. With a fixed shell it doesn't seem that these seats would recline much. There is at least a privacy screen.
JAL's A350 Class J is more of a premium economy seat in 2-4-2 configuration. Although the name Class J sounds like Business Class. The fare is usually slightly higher than economy and one can upgrade to Class J by paying just 1,000 yen at the airport.
Economy is in a 3-3-3 configuration and comes with a personal television at every seat. This is an improvement over the JAL B777-200 which has 3-4-3 (10 abreast) configuration.
The first three JAL A350's will be painted in a special colour scheme. The first aircraft is to be painted in red to symbolise Challenge, the 2nd aircraft will be painted in silver to symbolise innovation and the 3rd aircraft in green to symbolise Eco.