Qatar Airways and Airbus have released photos of their newly-painted Airbus A350-900XWB. The aircraft has just been released from the paint hangar in Toulouse and is the first to feature the full Qatar Airways livery. Unlike other aircraft, which had a hybrid Airbus & Qatar livery, this one in the airline’s standard grey livery with signature Oryx on the tail – it certainly does look sleek.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said that the airline is currently in the midst of a massive fleet expansion program and the incoming delivery of the Airbus A350 type into the fleet will be a significant milestone for the airline. “We take pride in introducing the latest products and services available to the industry and this new aircraft is a prime example of that. We look forward to offering to our passengers even more choice and variety in the young and modern fleet which we operate to more than 140 destinations across the world.”
With deliveries of the Airbus A350 set to begin later this year, the airline has not yet fully set out the schedule of the initial flights of the A350, but they have announced that it will do short-haul routes around the Gulf region. After that, the A350 is destined to my home country, Australia, where it will start operating on the Qatar to Perth route. This long and thin route is exactly what the Airbus A350, and its competitor the Boeing 787, were designed for.
Qatar has over 80 of the A350 on order from Airbus. With the aircraft completing a round-the-world test flight recently, it is nearing certification. Once certified, Qatar can take the first of their aircraft as launch customer of the type, and usher in a new generation of aircraft. Qatar was also set to receive the first of their A380s this year, however they have been significantly delayed due to issues with aircraft acceptance.
When the A350 enters service with Qatar Airways, it will mean a new aircraft to work out how to get on. Maybe now I will have more of an excuse to go home to Australia again?