Qatar Airways, the launch customer of the new long-haul jet, welcomed passengers onboard its A350 for the first time on Thursday 15 January 2015. The first flight was greeted in Germany by Qatar Airways’ group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus’ president & CEO.
“This is a very important milestone for Qatar Airways, and our first commercial A350 flight was filled with passengers enjoying the inaugural and exclusive travel experience that this tremendous new aircraft has to offer,” said Al Baker.
“The A350 XWB truly changes the travel experience and we are particularly pleased to put it on our route to Frankfurt; an important destination that we started servicing in 2002.”
Bregier added that Airbus has “been working towards this first commercial flight of the A350 XWB for nearly a decade”.
“It filled me with great pride and satisfaction to see the first passengers enjoy the comfort and quietness of the aircraft in flight. The A350 XWB delivers a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency to its operators – and being the world’s quietest twin-engine wide-body aircraft, it will truly be a good neighbour at every airport,” he added.
The ‘XWB’ suffix stands for ‘extra wide-body’, and Qatar Airways’ A350s will be configured in a two-class configuration with 36 business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, and 247 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout. Vertical side walls are also designed to provide more room for window seat passengers.
The aircraft’s fuselage is made of carbon fibre plastic, which makes the aircraft lighter than traditional metal jets and means it consumes less fuel.
Following the deployment of the first ever A350 on the Doha-Frankfurt route, Qatar Airways revealed that it will also deploy its second A350 to the German financial capital, following the aircraft’s delivery on 1 March 2015.