From left: Didier Evrard, Executive Vice-President, Airbus A350 XWB Programme, Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, and Phil Harris, Senior Vice-President, Customer Business, Rolls Royce, during a press conference and (Below) the Airbus A350 XWB landing at Hamad International Airport yesterday. Shaival Dalal
DOHA: Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, yesterday honoured its A350 launch customer, Qatar Airways (QA), with a stop-over at Hamad International Airport en route to the upcoming Singapore Airshow.
QA welcomed the A350 XWB (extra-wide body), the world’s newest and most modern aircraft expected to bring a new milestone of efficiency with 25 percent lower operating cost than previous generation competitors.
The flagship aircraft is in its advanced flight test programme phase.
The efficient A350 XWB airliners are scheduled to enter commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2014.
QA has ordered 80 aircraft to date, leaning towards the larger A350-900 and A350-1000 models, which better suit its business model and passenger requirements.
As the launch customer for the family of long-range, two-engined jet airliners, CEO of QA, Akbar Al Baker, welcomed Didier Evrard, Executive Vice-President, Airbus A350 XWB Programme, and Phil Harris, Senior Vice-President Customer Business, Rolls Royce, to commemorating the inaugural landing. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority, Jean-Christophe Peaucelle, French Ambassador, Angelikai Storz-Chakarj, German Ambassador, and Maria Del Carmen De Labena, Spanish Ambassador, and other officials visited the A350 XWB displayed on the tarmac.
Later, giving a joint press conference with Harris, Al Baker said: “This is yet another key milestone in Qatar’s aviation progress. We have been steadily investing in our infrastructure to enable us to stay ahead of the latest developments in the global aviation sector.
“Hamad International Airport, built for advanced aircraft such as the Airbus A350 XWB, is our flagship asset and will soon be the new home of Qatar Airways and our modern fleet of aircraft, including the A350 XWB family.”
The A350 XWB is a family of mid-sized wide-body aircraft designed to enhance fuel, operating costs and environmental efficiencies during medium-to-long haul operations.
Featuring the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies, the aircraft provides fuel efficiency of up to 25 percent.
Over 70 percent of the A350 XWB’s weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys.
The aircraft’s innovative all-new carbon fibre reinforced plastic fuselage results in lower fuel burn and easier maintenance.
The arrival of the A350 XWB in Doha from its Airbus base in Toulouse was a unique opportunity for the Airbus crew and HIA air traffic control and ground officials.
“It was a proud and symbolic occasion for QA and our team of air traffic and ground control crew at the airport to experience the landing of the new A350 at our new airport, as it gave us a unique glimpse into the exciting developments around the corner,” said Al Baker.