Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Qatar Airways Welcomes the first A350-1000

Much of the World's aviation correspondents descended upon Toulouse, France today for the handover of the first super advanced Airbus A350-1000 to launch customer - Qatar Airways.
The excitement had been building for quite some time and was literally palpable in the last half an hour before the celebrations and press conference began. 
The aircraft is the first of 37 A350-1000s ordered by Qatar and is the first ever Airbus aircraft fitted with the revolutionary new Qsuite seats, which offer unrivalled levels of comfort and space including the first ever double bed in Business class. 
Qatar Airways is the world’s largest A350 XWB family customer with a current total of some 76 aircraft on order and is also the largest A350-1000 customer to date. The growing airline was the launch customer for the 900 model and has indicated that it may upgrade some outstanding A350 orders to the new 1000 version in the future. The carrier says they expect to receive six 1000's this year.
“Qatar Airways always demands the very best for its customers, so it is right that we are the first airline in the world to fly the Airbus A350-1000,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, “This remarkable state-of-the-art aircraft will become a firm part of Qatar Airways fleet and will keep us ahead of the curve, allowing us to continue to offer our passengers outstanding levels of comfort and service”.
The A350-1000 fits seamlessly alongside Qatar Airways’ growing fleet, including 20 A350-900s today. Both aircraft are complementary and provide for maximum commonality with unmatched operating efficiencies and the same unique passenger experience in their Airspace cabin. 
Passengers benefit from absolute well-being in the cabin, with more personal space, optimised cabin altitude, more fresh air, controlled temperature & humidity, integrated connectivity and the latest generation of in-flight entertainment systems.
Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce President – Civil Aerospace, stated “We are very proud to have worked with Qatar Airways and Airbus to deliver engines for this latest version of the A350 XWB family. This delivery marks another significant day in our partnership with the airline and the manufacturer as the new aircraft is powered by the most powerful engine ever developed for an Airbus aircraft, the Trent XWB-97.”
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus, said “It is a huge pride for us to deliver the very first A350-1000 to our launch customer Qatar Airways. Bringing major advantages in fuel and cost efficiency along with unmatched passenger comfort, the A350-1000 is the ideal aircraft to showcase Qatar Airways’ legendary customer service. With its greater capacity compared to the A350-900, the newest widebody will play a major role on the carrier’s busiest long-haul routes and will contribute to strengthening their position at the forefront of the aviation industry.”
The A350-1000 is Airbus’ latest and largest widebody in the twin-aisle category. With a 7-metre longer fuselage, the A350-1000 space for premium cabin products is 40% larger than its smaller sibling the A350-900. In Qatar Airways configuration the A350-1000 offers 44 additional seats. It is a truly long-range aircraft with a range of 8,000nm (14,800 km) at entry into service. The A350-1000 features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. As with the A350-900, the A350-1000 brings together the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies for a 25 percent step change in operating cost compared to previous generation competitor aircraft.

Whilst Mr Akbar Al Baker confirmed during the press conference that his airline was not currently interested in operating the 20+ hour flights that some of his competitors were offering, he did express an interest in supersonic flights. "We are very interested in supersonic flight, as you know there is a  there is already a programme - to do supersonic aircraft with around 50-55 seat capacity. Qatar Airways will look at it, we would have no hesitation in becoming launch customer - once they have identified an engine supplier."
Speaking about the blockade imposed by neighbouring countries and states of Qatar, Mr Al Baker forcefully indicated what had been achieved by them was 'zero'. They had, he said, "failed to intimidate my country, in every single aspect they failed." The airline is also proving to its adversaries wrong, "we are a very robust airline." he said. 

Other future plans for Qatar Airways will be the launch of an Indian airline, which will have a fleet of approximately 100 aircraft, although no details were given on the exact manufacturer or model. 

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