ITA Airways takes delivery of the 2nd Airbus A350-900

On May 20, a freshly painted and configured Airbus A350 was delivered from Airbus facilities in Toulouse to ITA Airways’ main hub at Rome Fiumicino Airport. The completion of the 80-minute flight marks the delivery of the Italian carrier’s second Airbus A350-900 as it continues to build its new fleet of modern and efficient aircraft.

Flight details

The ITA Airways plane, an A350-900 registered EI-IFB and MSN 270, made a Toulouse-Rome flight on May 20 at 12:25 p.m. Flying with flight number AZ8020, the plane headed over the southern coast of France, flying over Marseilles en route. After about 78 minutes, the plane landed at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 1:43 p.m.

Delivery from France to Italy makes an extremely short flight. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

New to ITA, but not a new plane at all

If you have been tracking the MSNs (Manufacturer Serial Numbers) of the aircraft, you may have noticed that this “new delivery” has a fairly low (early) MSN. This is because the aircraft, although new to ITA Airways, is not exactly a newly built aircraft. Indeed, the jet is now about three and a half years old.

According to data from Planespotters.net, the plane was actually ordered for Hong Kong Airlines. However, the jet was never resumed. Hong Kong Airlines announced in 2017 that it would acquire 21 A350s, including 15 purchased directly from Airbus and six on lease from third-party lessors. However, that was far from realized, as the operator only really took delivery of one A350 – which is currently in storage at Alice Springs. This move by Hong Kong Airlines is likely the result of the 2019 pro-democracy protests and the ensuing pandemic the following year.


First spotted in Hong Kong Airlines livery in February 2021, the MSN 270 actually made its first test flight in late November 2018. Over the years, this jet has remained in the care of Airbus, receiving routine engine, taxi checks, and test flights when entering and exiting storage. It wasn’t until March 24, 2022 that the plane was first spotted in its new ITA Airways colors – its distinct “House of Savoy” blue.

More A350s on the way

According to ch-aviation.com, ITA Airways expects to fly a total of seven A350-900s. Indeed, the Italian carrier has signed a rental contract with the Kuwaiti rental company ALAFCO for four of the wide-body aircraft, whose delivery is scheduled for the second and third quarters. The website also notes that other incoming A350s will have MSNs 285, 323 and 338. All of these planes first flew in 2019 but have since been in storage and parked at Teruel Airport.


Before the last delivery on May 20, the airline already had an A350, which it took delivery on May 11. This jet had the MSN 308 and is registered EI-IFA. This jet was originally ordered by Hainan Airlines Group, the parent company of Hong Kong Airlines.

With the first ITA Airways A350 delivered as “Valentino Rossi”, the latest to arrive was named “Marcello Lippi”. Although this is the second A350 delivered by the airline, it was actually the jet that was used to reveal the airline’s livery on an A350 for the first time in late March.

Sources: AIB family flights, FlightRadar24.com, ch-aviation.com


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