Flag carrier airline Fiji Airways’ first Airbus A350 XWB jet is set to enter the final assembly process phase.

The development follows after the leased A350-900 aircraft from Dubai Aerospace Enterprises was rolled out the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse, France.

Once operational, Fiji Airways will become the first to operate the aircraft type in South-Pacific.

The aircraft is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year. The aircraft will be equipped with engines during the assembly phase. Once completed, it will be prepared to undergo ground and flight tests.

The aircraft is expected to improve existing services from Fiji to Australia and the US, as well as add more flight routes.

Fiji’s A350 XWB is a mid-size wide-body long-haul airliner and will feature 33 full lie-flat Business Class and 301 Economy Class seats.

It is fitted with carbon fibre fuselage and wings, as well as new engines by Rolls-Royce.

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These advanced technologies are expected to minimise fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25% while reducing maintenance costs.

In a statement, Airbus said: “The A350 XWB is the world’s most modern wide-body family and the long-range leader. It is the only all-new design aircraft in the 300-410 seater category, offering the lowest cost per seat of any large wide-body.”

Last month, 51 customers worldwide placed 913 firm orders for Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

During the same month, Fiji Airways signed a codeshare agreement with Fiji’s National Airline and Air India.