Qatar Airways now has proudly announced on social media that it has over 50 Airbus A350s in its fleet. The airline was the first customer to receive the A350 back in 2015 and has since acquired over 50 (a mix of A350-900s and A350-1000s).
Qatar Airways celebrates 50+ A350s in the sky
After taking delivery of three more A350s this October, Qatar Airways took its A350 fleet over the 50-plane mark. The airline now has a total of 52 Airbus A350 planes, giving it the joint-largest A350 fleet in the world together with Singapore Airlines. However, Qatar Airways is unique in that it operates both the A350-900 (34 in total) and the longer A350-1000 (18 in total).
While all the A350s in the Singapore Airlines’ fleet are -900s, not all of these are configured the same. In fact, the carrier has three configurations for its A350s- medium-haul, long-haul, and ultra-long-haul.
A successful plane:
The widebody A350 has been one of the more successful programs in Airbus’ history. Initiated in the early 2000s, the A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body) was envisioned as a competitor to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Airbus rolled the plane out into service in 2015, with Qatar Airways afforded the honor of being its launch customer. Airbus has received a total of 930 orders for A350-family planes and is closing in on 400 deliveries.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) December 25, 2020
Qatar’s mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing planes
While Qatar Airways’ fleet has historically been dominated by Boeing planes, its Airbus aircraft have caught up. According to Planespotters.net, the airline has 51 active A350s and one parked. Together with its other Airbus aircraft, Qatar Airways has a total of 117 Airbus planes – this also includes 10 A380s (currently parked) and 29 A320s.
Of its 50+ A350s, the majority have been acquired on a lease basis. However, the airline is gradually upping its number of owned-A350s as it takes delivery of new planes fresh off the assembly line.
The carrier’s fleet of Boeing aircraft now stands at exactly the same figure – 117 Boeing planes. With 78 Boeing 777s, two 747s and 37 787 Dreamliner’s, the airline also has several Boeing planes on order.
Qatar Airways looks set to continue its diverse fleet mix, as it has outstanding orders for both Airbus and Boeing planes. This includes 60 Boeing 777x planes and 23 787-9 Dreamliners along with 50 Airbus A321neos and over 40 A350s.
There are more A350s on order
Qatar Airways still has a number of outstanding A350 orders with Airbus. According to FlightGlobal, the airline is still expecting another 42 A350-1000s, although both parties recently reached an agreement to delay delivery. The carrier presently has 18 A350-1000s active in its fleet – with further deliveries its -1000 fleet would eclipse its -900 fleet, which currently stands at 34.
Along with deferred delivery of its A350s, Qatar Airways has delayed the arrival of 50 A321neos due to the COVID pandemic. Several other prominent operators of the A350, including Cathay Pacific and Finnair, have also deferred deliveries in these uncertain times.
Where does the A350 rank in your list of favorite aircraft? Let us know in the comments.