Qatar Airways has announced that it is altering its Airbus A350 orders. The flag carrier airline is converting five of its A350-900 orders into orders for A350-1000 aircraft. The airline, which was the launch customer for both variants of the A350, had previously hinted that it may make such a move in response to the changing market conditions.
“Latest in Aerodynamics”
The A350 family is Airbus’ answer to the B787. Despite deliveries starting off slowly, it looks as though the airliner is becoming a firm favourite for long-haul flights. The A350-900ULR is this month going to start operating the world’s longest flight from Singapore to New York. The flight will be commencing on October 11th. In fact, the CEO of Qantas has previously indicated that the A350 could be a contender for its ambitious plan to launch direct flights between London and Sydney as part of Project Sunrise.
Extremely Pleased With Performance
Announcing the change in orders His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, mentioned that the move was down to the performance of the A350. With a new total of 42 A350-1000 aircraft on order, the total number of A350-1000 aircraft in Airbus’ order books has risen to 173.
Commenting on the change in orders, Mr Al Baker told press: “Since taking delivery of the world’s first A350-1000 in February 2018, we have been extremely pleased with the aircraft’s performance, which has prompted us to update our original order. The A350-1000 has been a welcome addition to our fleet and very well received by our passengers who enjoy the new generation aircraft’s unprecedented levels of comfort and technology.”
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Airbus is hoping that the A350-1000 will deter customers from ordering the new B777x aircraft which Boeing is about to begin testing. The A350-1000 seats 366 passengers and is 25% more efficient than the current B777 models on the market. The new B777x utilises technology which makes the B787 so efficient, so the difference between the B777x and A350-1000 may not be that large.
Unique Business Class
The new A350-1000 aircraft is certainly a boon for Qatar Airways. They are plenty spacious, allowing the Middle Eastern airline to install an all-new business class experience on the aircraft. Specifically, the new seats will make Qatar the first airline to offer double beds in business class.