Malaysia Airlines has launched an A350 service between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur.

Heathrow welcomed Malaysia Airlines first A350 service to London on Monday January 15 and the inaugural return flight was due to take off at 9:30pm on Monday evening.

The Airbus A350s will replace the A380 superjumbos Malaysia Airlines currently operates on its twice daily service between Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur.

The carrier plans to operate only A350s on the route from March.

The launch saw a reception for travel trade partners in Malaysia’s Golden Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 4

Chief executive Izham Ismail said: “We boast one of the most modern fleets in Asia and are delighted to have the A350 now operating on our London route.

“The aircraft has been especially designed for long-haul routes, and will offer our customers a superior travel experience with enhanced levels of comfort, privacy and functionality.”

Malaysia Airlines has configured the A350 cabin in a three-class layout, with four new First Class seats, 31 in business class and 251 seats in economy.

The carrier launched the 494-seat A380 on its Heathrow-Kuala Lumpur service in 2012 and went double daily soon afterwards.

It has maintained a double-daily service despite the difficulties experienced following the twin tragedies of 2014 – the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine.

The switch to the fuel-saving A350, with 256 seats and all the latest aircraft technology, will offer the carrier a huge saving on the costs of operating the A380s.

Malaysia Airlines’ UK regional manager for the UK, Ireland, Europe and North America Adrian Keating said: “We would like to thank our key partners, who are vital to Malaysia Airlines’ success.”