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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Airbus prepares for A350 handover to Qatar Airways

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After clearing 14 months of trials, Airbus has said its newest aircraft, the A350, is preparing for the delivery of its first plane by the end of this year.

As the long-haul aircraft’s biggest customer, Qatar Airways will be the first airline to receive and fly the new planes. The national carrier has plans to purchase 80 of the aircraft, in a mixture of three models:

  • The 315-seater A350-900 (QR has ordered 43); and
  • The 369-seater A350-1000 (QR has ordered 37)

The latter model is not due to enter service until 2017. According to Airbus, final documentation and reviews are now underway to obtain certification for the A350s.

As of July 2014, the A350 has received a total of 742 orders. That’s slightly less than Airbus had expected, following the sudden cancelation of a 70-plane order from Emirates earlier this summer.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker previously told reporters that after the first A350 delivery, the airline expects to receive nine aircrafts by next year, followed by one a month month in 2016 and two a month in 2017.

Each A350-900 is estimated to cost around $277.7 million.

World tour — the final trial

A350 touchdown in Doha
A350 touchdown in Doha

During the testing phase, the A350 landed in 14 different cities on one route, via the North Pole.

Tests were broken down into four trials, all beginning and ending in Toulouse, France, where Airbus is headquartered.

The aircraft landed at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) in February, stopping over for two days while various checks took place. At the time, HIA was not yet open for commercial use.

During the 20-day tour, the A350 flew approximately 151,300km in some 180 flight hours. All flights were on schedule, according to Airbus.

Fernando Alonso, senior vice president of flight & integration tests, said in a statement:

“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned.

I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our customers.”

Five development A350s were actively involved in Airbus’ intensive flight test program, which had already accumulated over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours prior to the tour.

According to Airbus, the A350 test program has resulted in Airbus achieving its highest flying rate recorded during flight tests.

A350 specifications

Airbus has touted the new planes, which can seat 275-369 people, as more fuel efficient than their current long-range competitor, the 254-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

In terms of passenger comfort, the A350 boasts 18-inch wide seats in economy, extra headroom, wider panoramic windows and larger overhead storage spaces.

With a cabin cross-section of 220 inches from armrest to armrest, the A350 business and first class seating is five inches wider than its nearest competitor, Airbus said.

Airbus also claims that high-precision air management systems installed on planes, ensuring that total cabin air is renewed every two to three minutes.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that QR is not ordering any A350-800s. Seating measurements have also been edited.

13 COMMENTS

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wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago

I hope that Airbus has sorted out their quality issues that have delayed the delivery of Qatar Airways A380s otherwise it might be some time before they are seen flying Qatar Airways colours. Might be other airlines operating this aircraft before Qatar Airways. Will quality be less of a concern when the kudos of being the first customer is concerned?

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  wee_johnnie

I don’t think that it is really a quality issue more than a roaming goal post issue.

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  wee_johnnie

There’s not a chance QR will give up the prestige of being the first airline to fly this type. The plane will delivered with dodgy wallpaper or not 🙂
Subsequent deliveries though are a different matter

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

Prestige for being the launch customer? Was it not the QA CEO who said of the A380 launch ‘”Whenever a new model of car comes out I like to get the first one but after a year I need to replace it because they make so many modifications,” he said. “That’s why we are taking the 50th A380 onwards.” Al Baker added that he expected Qatar to receive its first Boeing 787 in June and that its first flight would be to the UK after being displayed at the Farnborough airshow.’

http://airnation.net/2012/01/27/qatar-airways-a380-wing-crack-delay/

Let’s wait and see if he boasts that QA is the launch customer of the A350, because that won’t be awkward…

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Normally I would agree with you, but its hardly the first time the QR CEO has said one thing and then a few months later said the complete opposite.
With this being an example of that very nature.. If he really believed that then why did he sign up to be the launch customer??????

To quote your article: “Dont bet on Qatar delaying anything. Al Baker likes to rattle the cage a bit and Airbus will fix the issue.”

Have you noticed how the shiny new aircraft are always put on London & Dubai routes, this is not coincidence, they like to show off the new aircraft.
This is the first chance QR has the opportunity to be the first airline in the world to operate a new aircraft and I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t pass that up!
If I’m proven to be wrong I’ll happily eat my humble pie!

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago

“Seating in first and business class measures 220 inches from armrest to armrest, making it five inches wider than its nearest competitor, Airbus said”
By my reckoning thats just shy of a 19-foot wide seat – not going to fit many of those in a plane!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

The economy seats are “extra-wide” at 18 inches. The economy seats on a QA A340 are 17.5. I’m struggle to see how half an inch can take a seat from being regular, to “extra-wide”. Meanwhile the business class seats on a Qatar Airways 787 are 30 inches wide. I think I’ll be giving the 22 inch wide seats a miss thanks.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I care less about an extra half inch of set width than i do nearly being crippled by the inadequate legroom in Cattle class QA planes ! Why should we get 0.5 inch of width to pacify the lardies when even those who can control what they eat cant sit properly ?

Elysia Windrum
Elysia Windrum
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

You make a valid point. Airbus provided the information on its website: With a cross-section of 220 inches from armrest to armrest, the jetliner’s cabin provides the widest seats in its category, being five inches larger than its nearest competitor. However, after some further analyzing, it seems the information presented by Airbus is somewhat misleading. Another article reads that it is the cabin itself that has a cross section of 220 inches. In neither of the articles the size of the business and first class seats are mentioned.

Thanks for pointing it out! We have now corrected this information in the article.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Elysia Windrum

When it comes to seat widths and seat pitch, primarily in business and first class, these statistics are being hard to compare from one airline to the next as some airlines adopt herringbone layouts and others still use parallel orientations. In many ways it is no longer possible to compare one seat ‘size’ to another.

As for the 220 inch dimension, at first glance it would seem to be an error, and they have meant 22 inches for the seat. But it is also possible that they mean the internal diameter of the cabin, which at 5.61m is slightly wider than the Airbus A330 at 5.28 (and approx 6 inches wider than a 787).

Elysia Windrum
Elysia Windrum
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yeah, you are right there. I mentioned in my earlier comment and also updated the article to say that it is in fact the cabin measurement that they are referring to. According to Airbus, the dimension of the cabin is 220 inches internally (from armrest to armrest). I updated the article alongside my earlier comment to indicate that.

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Also the design of the seats and layout are down to each individual airline, so its impossible for Airbus to give spec’s. Therefor they can only give the width of the cabin..

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Jimjam

Emirates and you fly well in any aircraft!

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