Delta’s state-of-the-art flagship touches down in Denver, but no local flights planned (for now)

Delta’s new, state-of-the-art flagship made waves when it was spotted on the runway at Denver International Airport Tuesday morning.

The Airbus A350-900 sighting, which was promoted for “av geeks” (or aviation enthusiasts) with a trio of photo tweets from DIA officials, marks the first time the A350-900 has appeared in Colorado.

“The A350 has been conducting training flights for the last month or so,” Michael Thomas, manager of corporate communications for Delta Air Lines, wrote in an email. “This week, as part of the certification prior to entering revenue service, the A350 was flow to unique airports — in this case Denver for its high altitude. We’ll also be flying to Seattle and San Francisco.”

While no Denver-centric routes are planned for the widebody commercial jet just yet, Delta will officially debut the plane on Oct. 30 with a route from Detroit to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, marking the first time the A350 has flown passengers for a North American carrier.

“I think there’s always the possibility,” a Delta spokesman said of a Denver route.

The industry excitement over the A350 stems from features Delta touts as “the future of international travel,” such as a lightweight, composite body that allow for longer-range flights, better fuel efficiency, lower operating costs and reduced noise and emissions.

When it debuted for Qatar Airways in 2015, the A350 represented a step up from Boeing’s 787, according to Aviation Week, with nine-abreast economy seating that can fly 315 passengers 7,750 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 — compared with the 787-9’s 280-person capacity and a maximum range of 8,300 nautical miles.

Delta will take delivery of five A350s this year, with more coming in 2018, to replace its retiring widebody aircraft, the company said.

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