QA expects first Airbus in Dec; Singapore-Doha Dreamliner service soon
February 13, 2014 - 7:31:45 am
DOHA: Qatar Airways, the launch customer for the Airbus A350, expects to receive its first aircraft ahead of scheduled delivery in December 2014, CEO Akbar Al Baker said yesterday .
“They (Airbus) are well ahead of the test schedule,” he said at the Singapore Airshow, adding the aircraft could arrive a month or two earlier. The fast-growing Doha-based full-service carrier has 43 A350-900s and 37 A350-1000s on its order books.
Al Baker said patience was running thin with Bombardier’s troubled CSeries aircraft programme. While Qatar has a requirement in the 120-160 seat category, the programme’s delays and lack of orders could lead to the airline looking elsewhere.
“We have told them that we will only be interested in talking to them again once they have sold 300 aircraft. People like us are not going to indefinitely wait for the aircraft programme to mature.”
He said the airline was not interested in Airbus’ offer of a higher take-off weight “regional” A330, or Boeing’s 787-10 or 777-8X. The airline also has 50 Boeing 777-9 on order, but it is not keen on the smaller 777-8, he said.
Meanwhile, the airline announced to introduce a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its Singapore-Doha sector from March 31, alongside its existing fleet of Boeing 777s. The Singapore-Doha route would be the airline’s first in Southeast Asia to use the 787 aircraft, which boasts a host of features, including improved cabin, and being one of the most fuel-efficient airliners in the world.
Travellers from Singapore will soon be able to enjoy the unique flying experience in the Dreamliner from the Southeast Asian city-state to the airline’s hub, from which it operates the same aircraft type to key cities throughout its network, including London, Oslo, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Munich, Riyadh, Delhi, Bengaluru, Dubai and Brussels.
“The introduction of the 787 aircraft to the Singapore-Doha sector, which is an important and strategic route for QA, will redefine in-flight experience for our Singapore-based passengers who travel to Doha and onwards to key destinations in Western Europe and the Americas.
“QA is happy to be the first in the Singapore market to provide this unique offering to passengers,” said Al Baker. The airline’s 787 aircraft is on static display at the airshow until February 14, where the airline is exhibiting for the first time.
QA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner also boasts dimmable windows and a more spacious seating configuration.
QA’s 787s feature 254 seats – 22 seats in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration that convert into fully flat horizontal beds – and a 232 seating capacity in Economy Class in a 3-3-3 layout. It operates 14 flights each week between Singapore and Doha, from where it flies to 134 leisure and business destinations worldwide.