Toulouse – MENA Herald: Vietnam Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for 10 more A350-900 aircraft. The aircraft will be used by the airline on non-stop flights to the US, beginning with services between Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles.

The MOU was signed in Hanoi today by Duong Tri Thanh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO. The signing took place during the state visit to Vietnam of François Hollande, President of France, and was witnessed by Mr Hollande and Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Vietnam Airlines last year became the first airline in East Asia and the second in the world to operate the A350 XWB. The carrier already has four aircraft in service, with another 10 on firm order for future delivery. The additional 10 aircraft covered by today’s MOU will enable Vietnam Airlines to operate non-stop to the US West Coast, carrying 305 passengers in a three class premium layout.

“The intention to acquire these additional aircraft reflects our excellent experience with the A350 since it entered service with Vietnam Airlines last year,” said Duong Tri Thanh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines. “With its very long range capability, economic fuel consumption and spacious cabin, the A350 is the suitable aircraft for our proposed intercontinental routes to Europe and the US. The start of non-stop transpacific services with the A350 is yet another example of the commitment we have at Vietnam Airlines to strengthen our position as one of the world’s leading international carriers.”

“Today’s agreement further consolidates the A350’s position as the new long haul leader in the mid-size widebody category,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350 XWB has quite simply set new standards in its class, combining unbeatable operating economics with the highest levels of passenger comfort. We look forward to working closely with Vietnam Airlines as it continues to develop its long haul network and strengthens its position in the premium market.”

The all-new A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. For passengers, the A350 XWB sets new standard in terms of in-flight comfort, with an extra-wide cabin offering more personal space in all classes, including 18 inch wide seats as standard in economy class.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 810 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever. A total of 36 A350 XWBs have been delivered so far and the aircraft is now in service with eight carriers, including Vietnam Airlines.