Thursday, January 8, 2015

Qatar Airways unveils first Airbus A350 in Doha

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said the A350 was "magnificent."
(Photo by Karen Walker)
Qatar Airways formally received the world’s first Airbus A350-900 at ceremonies in Doha Wednesday, with the airline’s chief also saying he was interested in a re-engined A380.

The aircraft, the first of 80 A350 XWBs that launch customer Qatar has on order, was delivered to the airline Dec. 22 at Airbus’ Toulouse facility after a short delay that was not explained.

Formal receiving ceremonies in Doha were then also postponed to Jan. 7 to allow time for the holidays.

At a press conference today, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said that Airbus, Trent XWB engine maker Rolls-Royce and Qatar had created “a magnificent masterpiece.”

The first aircraft will enter revenue service in mid-January with a flight from Doha’s new Hamad International Airport to Frankfurt.

“The arrival of the A350 into the Airbus fleet is quite simply a design for the decade,” Al Baker said. “This is special not just for us, but for the entire industry.”

With the arrival of the A350, Qatar Airways becomes the first airline to have all three current Airbus widebodies in its fleet—joining the A330 and A380.

Ultimately, the A350s will replace the A330s. Planned routes for the A350 after Frankfurt include New York, secondary European cities and the Far East.

Asked about the A380, Al Baker said that he was interested in firming three options if the aircraft proves what it promised to deliver. He also said Qatar Airways was “very interested” in a re-engined A380. “This aircraft would be very, very efficient with very low seat mile costs,” he said.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

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