Qatar Airways expects to receive its first A350-1000 aircraft before the year-end, Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said on Wednesday.
“It is now in the certification process. Airbus has assured us that we will receive the airplane, although late, before the year-end,” al-Baker told reporters in Doha.
Qatar Airways is the launch customer of Airbus’ largest twin-engined passenger jet and is scheduled to receive its first of 37 on order this year.
An Airbus spokesman confirmed to Reuters that the company planned to deliver the first A350-1000 to Qatar Airways this year.
Currently, Qatar Airways has 19 A350-900s in its fleet and has placed orders for some 80 A350s, the news agency said.
On Airbus A320neos al-Baker said, “We are converting it into 321s and hopefully the deliveries will start from the second half of next year.”
According to Reuters, Qatar Airways is also renegotiating its 50 jet single aisle A320neo order, which also includes A319 and A321 versions, after first rejecting delivery of the aircraft in December 2015 over what it said were performance issues.
Asked to what extent Qatar Airways had been able to survive the crisis because of the blockade imposed on Qatar by four neighbouring countries, al-Baker said, “We are a very robust country and we are a large airline. We will persevere as long as it takes.”
On compensation Qatar Airways would demand from the blockading countries for hurting its business, al-Baker said, “I do not wish to discuss this with the media.”
Due to the blockade, the national carrier can no longer continue its lucrative services to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and has to divert some flights on longer routes because of airspace restrictions.
Celebrating 20 years of flying, Qatar Airways is one of the fastest-growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world, with 200 aircraft flying to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. Qatar Airways is also launching 26 exciting new destinations around the world between now and the end of 2018, including Chiang Mai, Thailand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco, US; and Santiago, Chile.
Multiple award-winning Qatar Airways has this year alone been named ‘Airline of the Year’ by the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards (the fourth time it has won this global accolade). Qatar’s national carrier also clinched Best Airline in the Middle East, World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.
The carrier, which is one of the Middle East's biggest airlines, recently reported that its revenue rose from $9.6bn to $10.6bn in the fiscal year ending March 31. Its net profits in 2016 stood at around $445mn.