Qatar Airways officially welcomes the new A350 XWB
Jan. 7, 2015, Ottawa - The world's richest nation, Qatar, has a long history as a leading exporter of precious pearls – and now its national airline has one more gem to add to its illustrious fleet.
Qatar Airways officially introduced its new A350 XWB jetliner today in front of group more than 150 journalists from every corner of the globe. Qatar Airways’ group chief executive Akbar Al Baker, Didier Evrad, Airbus executive vice president head of programs and Eric Schultz, Rolls Royce’s president of civil large engines, were all on hand to answer a plethora of questions from the room, covering everything from aircraft development, deployment, future growth, aviation safety and more.
Al Baker, a passionate aviation advocate and driven leader of the rapidly growing Qatar Airways, was understandably exited and pleased the long-awaited AW350 XWB has finally made it into service. With the addition of the A350, Qatar is the world’s only commercial airline to operate every member of Airbus’ modern portfolio, comprised of the A320, A330 Freighter, A319LR, A321, A340, and A380 families.
“We are ready to commence operations with the A350 XWB and are delighted to introduce another level of service to our fleet,” Al Baker said. “The engineering design team of the A350 XWB is modern, technologically refined and spacious, and we are proud to welcome yet another fine airplane into the Qatar Airways fleet.”
As the global launch customer to the A350 XWB, Qatar Airways will be the only airline to fly this aircraft type for the foreseeable future. The first commercial service is set for January 15 on the Doha, Qatar to Frankfurt, Germany route.
The company played a key role in its cutting edge design, working closely with Airbus in a number of areas including the flight deck and creating just the right passenger experience. To that end, the A350 XWB features a two-class configuration with 36 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring 80-inch fully flat beds and 17-inch HD in-flight entertainment screens. Economy class – arguably one of the finest in the skies – will make up 247 seats, each 18-inches wide in a 3-3-3 configuration with up to 32-inch pitch.
Having just toured the aircraft, with several other “kid-in-the-candy-store journalists from around the world, it is clear that this isn’t simply an unpleasant “drop” from business class to economy – all passengers can expect creature comforts and some of the finest service in the skies.
Of note, the technologically advanced aircraft is made from 70 per cent composite material and titanium, making it both economical and easy to maintain. The aircraft’s innovative all-carbon fibre reinforced plastic fuselage also results in lower fuel burn.
The A350 XWB is certainly a game-changer and for the tiny but powerful country of Qatar, it’s one more gem that sets it apart on the world stage.