If you like the Airbus A350 aircraft as much as we do, Asia is a great place to be. Two of the three largest operators of the A350 are Asian airlines, and there are plenty of routes both within Asia and internationally. In this article, we take a look at the many, and growing, ways to get onboard.
The Airbus A350 in Asia
Of the 556 A350 aircraft in airline fleets as of late August 2023, 179 of them are with Asia-based airlines. Here is the full list of all Asian airlines and how many A350 they currently operate (this includes both A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft):
- Air China (28 A350-900)
- Asiana Airlines (13 A350-900)
- Cathay Pacific (29 A350-900 and 18 A350-1000)
- China Airlines (14 A350-900)
- China Eastern Airlines (18 A350-900)
- Hainan Airlines (1)
- China Southern Airlines (18 A350-900)
- Hong Kong Airlines (1)
- Japan Airlines (16 A350-900)
- Malaysia Airlines (6 A350-900)
- Philippine Airlines (2 A350-900)
- Sichuan Airlines (6 A350-900)
- Singapore Airlines (56 A350-900 and 7 A350-900ULR)
- Thai Airways (14 A350-900)
- Vietnam Airlines (14 A350-900)
Find more news about Asian aviation here
Singapore Airlines - leading the way
It probably doesn't; come as too much of a surprise that in Asia, Singapore Airlines operates the largest Airbus A350 fleet. The airline has made a significant commitment to the A350. They currently operate the largest fleets of A350s globally (after overtaking Qatar Airways post-pandemic).
Singapore Airlines operates the aircraft on plenty of long-haul routes, but also many within Asia. As the A350 makes up such a large part of its fleet, the aircraft is found on many of its routes (including down to the shortest Singapore to Kuala Lumpur flights). Regular regional routes include Bangalore, Colombo, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Seoul. It also offers some of the best inflight experience and services around. Take a look at our review of Singapore Airlines' A350 business class here.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific comes in second place for A350 operations in Asia. It has 47 A350 aircraft in the fleet, making it the third-largest operator globally (after Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific). It is also the only Asian airline to operate the A350-1000 currently, although others (including Japan Airlines and Philippine Airlines have the variant on order).
Like Singapore Airlines, Cathay operates its A350 on both long-haul and short/medium-haul regional routes. The airline is well-known for regular equipment swaps on regional flights, so keep checking if you are keen to fly on the A350! Regular routes include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Travelers in Hong Kong used to be able to use Hong Kong Airlines A350-900 aircraft too. The airlines previously operated six of these aircraft - including on regional routes to Bangkok and Shanghai. These were dropped during the pandemic, however.
Flights within and from China
Many Chinese airlines are operating the A350, on domestic services as well as short and long-haul international. Air China has the largest fleet of 28 A350-900 aircraft and regularly schedules the A350 domestically between Beijing and Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Within Asia, it adds other locations, including Singapore and Osaka. Air China has recently released a new business class cabin for the aircraft.
China Eastern and China Southern both have sizable fleets of 18 aircraft, and both operate the A350 on domestic services (especially between Beijing and Shanghai).
Fly with the ‘flag carriers’ of many Asian countries
Major airlines in many Asia countries have taken up the A350, opening up plenty of ways to fly from many countries. The following is a summary of some of the main operators.
From Taipei, China Airlines operates the A350 on many Asian routes - including Bangkok, Denpasar, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Okinawa. Osaka and Tokyo.
In Japan, Japan Airlines operates the A350 on many domestic routes. It regularly operates between Tokyo Haneda and Fukuoka, Okinawa, Osaka, Naha, and Sapporo. It launched this in June 2019 with a new three-class layout just for these domestic services. Its upcoming A350-1000 aircraft will fly further afield - including to New York JFK.
Malaysia Airlines flies its A350s between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, Osaka, and Sydney. It also serves London Heathrow, replacing its previous A380 service.
Aircraft and flight data here are as of mid-2023. Bear in mind these details (especially routes) can change quickly. Feel free to discuss the A350 and its operations in Asia further in the comments section. Let us know where you have flown on the aircraft.