Qatar Airways will take delivery of the first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft between February 15 and 20, group chief executive Akbar al-Baker has said.
“First and foremost, we are very proud to the first recipient and operator of the ultra-long range A350-1000. This is one of the most sophisticated and latest in the line of the evolution of Airbus aeroplanes,” al-Baker told Gulf Times in Doha Saturday.
Qatar Airways has ordered 37 of the "world’s most advanced" passenger aircraft. The A350-1000 is 23 feet longer than its sister aircraft, the Airbus A350-900, for which Qatar Airways was also the global launch customer.
“Compared to A350-900, which we are already operating, the A350-1000 has new wing trailing edges, modification to the fuselage and the three-bogie landing-gear that Airbus has created for the first time,” al-Baker said.
A350-1000 is larger than A350-900 and can accommodate between 40 and 50 more passengers. The A350 XWB is powered by new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the world most efficient large aero engine flying today.
Al-Baker said Qatar Airways initially plans to fly its first A350-1000 on long haul routes before deploying it on ultra-long-haul routes in a few month’s time.
Qatar Airways staff hold the national flag next to an Airbus A350-1000 in Doha.
“Since ours will be the first commercial A350-1000 aircraft, we will make sure we will only operate to long haul and not ultra-long-haul (routes) until we shake up the aircraft. Because, every new aircraft can have some technical issues. When it really flies with passengers, it will be a completely different story. To protect our interests, we will first fly long-haul before we start flying ultra-long haul after a few months.”
Al-Baker indicated that the first route of A350-1000 would be in Europe, although Qatar Airways has not decided on the exact destination.
“We are waiting for the final delivery date. Once our state-of-the-art Qsuite is installed in Toulose, which is happening at the moment, we will decide on that.”
Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, is already fast collecting awards for bringing a first class experience to the business class cabin.
Qsuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed in business class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.
Qatar Airways launched Qsuite at ITB Berlin in March 2017 to outstanding global acclaim, and has set a new standard for luxury travel with this innovative product.
Al-Baker said Qatar Airways has some 80 A350s on order and is the largest customer of the A350 programme.
“We have already received 23 of this type and the remaining will be received by us from now until 2025.”
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