The carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker was joined by Fabrice Bregier, Airbus’ president and CEO, Tony Wood, president – aerospace at Rolls Royce and Qatar’s Ambassador to France, His Excellency Sheikh Mishaal bin Hamad Al-Thani in Toulouse for the launch today.
He said: “Today marks a momentous occasion in the history of our airline. Not only are we welcoming a new aircraft type into the Qatar Airways fleet, but as global launch customer for the A350 XWB, we are receiving the newest and most modern aircraft that the world will see for at least another decade.
“With our significant order as launch customer for 80 of this aircraft type, it has enabled Airbus to create an aircraft that not only considers every aspect of passenger comfort, but also features the cutting-edge light-weight carbon composite design, which in turn allows fuel consumption and noise to be reduced, along with many other leading features.”
The A350 is Airbus’ new fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft, which effectively replaces the old four-engined A340. There will be three different versions of the aircraft; the A350-800 which launched today will seat approximately 276 passengers in a standard two-cabin layout, while the mid-sized A350-900 will offer an average of 315 seats. The largest model, the A350-1000, will be able to carry 369 passengers in two classes.
The new aircraft complements Airbus’ A330 series and the double-decker A380, and will compete directly with the Boeing 777.
To-date, Airbus has received 778 A350 orders, with major airline customers including Qatar Airways (80 aircraft), Singapore Airlines (70), Etihad Airways (62), Cathay Pacific (46) and United Airlines (35).