The initial A350 XWB for Vietnam Airlines rolled out of Airbus’ Toulouse paint shop on 6 March 2015, displaying the airline’s updated blue and gold lotus livery
Vietnam Airlines, the government-owned national flag carrier for Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is on the cusp of its first major international expansion in over a decade.
The airline has made no secret of its desire to become the second-largest carrier in Southeast Asia by 2020, behind Singapore Airlines. With the financial near-collapses of regional competitors Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines and the upcoming expansion of its long-haul fleet, Vietnam Airlines is poised to gain significant market share and inch closer to its goal of regional domination.
A member of the SkyTeam alliance, Vietnam currently operates a full-service schedule to 52 destinations in 17 countries, with an active fleet of 77 aircraft.
The Qatar Airways A350, simply beautiful – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
Ever since first seeing the Airbus A350 at the Singapore Airshow last year, I have had a soft spot for this aircraft. I was over the moon with excitement when the news came that I had been invited by Qatar Airways to cover the inauguration ceremony in Doha prior to its inaugural flight to Frankfurt on the 15th of January.
The aircraft had been officially handed over to Qatar Airways on the 22nd of December, 2014, in a special delivery ceremony hosted by Airbus.
A nice welcome at the press conference – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The inauguration ceremony in Doha was accompanied by much fanfare, including a fun-filled three-day activity program for over 130 members of media from all over the world. Although there was no demonstration flight, like the event in Toulouse, it was still a very exciting and fun event to be part of.
The below photo report covers not only the official press conference and aircraft tour, but also the rather extravagant evening inauguration ceremony. This ceremony was one of the most impressive spectacles I had ever witnessed, and it was magnificently organized, right down to the choreographed light show on the aircraft. For the best viewing experience, be sure to click on each photo for the full resolution image to be displayed.
Qatar’s first Airbus A350 at Toulouse, ready to fly to Doha – Photo: Chris Sloan | AirwaysNews
This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally published on AirwaysNews.
At 9:28 PM LT on Tuesday, December 23, Qatar’s first A350 XWB landed in Doha–under the cover of darkness–with approximately 70 Qatar employees, VIP’s and media on-board the delivery flight from Toulouse, France.
On Monday, Airbus handed over the first A350 XWB to launch customer Qatar Airways, and shortly after taking delivery of the aircraft, several executives and more than a hundred members of the media flew on a short demonstration flight over the Mediterranean.
The Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 bar – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDL Multimedia
The delivery flight to Doha would be operated as a normal commercial scheduled flight, but just with fewer people then typical. Business Class was full while approximately ten passengers–who were all employees of Qatar–would have the two economy cabins to themselves.
A Business Class seat on the Airbus A350 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDL Multimedia
As much as I was anticipating experiencing the Airbus A350 XWB in a true commercial flight, I was equally as curious in putting Qatar’s renowned SkyTrax 5-star rated Business Class, marketed and self-proclaimed as “World’s Best Business Class,” to the test. Burning questions include: Would it live up to all the hype and marketing expectations? Is it truly a First Class product at a Business Class price? Is the Airbus A350XWB cabin truly an “eXtra Wide Body” experience in the same league as its 787 competitor from Everett?
Continue reading Flight Review: Taking Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 Delivery Flight to Doha on AirwaysNews.com
Qatar Airways’ First A350 (MSN006) at the Airbus Delivery Center – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Qatar Airways, to much fanfare, took delivery today of the first commercial A350-900. Not only is this the first serial production A350 to be delivered to a customer, it is also the first of 80 A350s headed for Qatar Airways. Qatar has 36 additional -900s on order as well as 43 -1000s.
An easy way to understand the technology in the A350 – Image: Airbus
The A350 itself represents a technological leap for Airbus, as it is their first aircraft to be over 50% composite materials; 53%, technically – including the longest manufactured single pieces of carbon fiber that make up the wing assembly. The remainder of the aircraft is made up of modern metallurgical feats that manifest themselves as lighter titanium and aluminum alloys.
BONUS: OMG YES! Photos & Video of Five Airbus A350s Flying in Formation
If that wasn’t enough to impress you, the A350 is the first aircraft certified by the EASA to operate ETOPS 370 missions prior to entry-into-service (EIS). ETOPS 370 is the next phase of Extended-range Twin Operations, allowing an aircraft to be certified to fly on one engine for more than six hours. This opens up a whole host of new destinations for twin-engine aircraft, as well as adds efficiencies to existing air routes as airlines will no longer have to “hug” strategic alternate airports as tightly.