Qatar Airways beats siege
The delivery of the first Airbus A350-1000 to Qatar Airways (QA) proves that the ongoing blockade has failed to slow down Qatar’s growth, the airline’s Group Chief Executive has said.
“The delivery of this aircraft is not only a milestone for Qatar Airways but also for Qatar. Needless to say that the blockade has made Qatar stronger,” QA Group Chief Executive Akbar al Baker told reporters on the sidelines of an event to celebrate the arrival of the world’s first commercial passenger A350-1000 to Doha on Wednesday.
Baker said QA would go ahead with its fleet expansion plans.”We have started operating on so many new routes after the blockade as we are receiving more and more new planes. Today, one more A350-900 will land at HIA. This is a record that we have received two new planes within a gap of 30 minutes,” Baker said.
“This expansion is going to continue. The airline will add seven A350s to its fleet next month. This will be a record for an airline to receive seven new planes in a single month,” Baker said, adding that the airline would also receive Boeing 777s soon.
“We are marching ahead. We are expected to take delivery of 30 new planes in 2018,” he said.
Baker said the airline would have the distinction of operating the state-of-the-art A350-1000 alone in the world at least for the next nine months.
The second A350-1000 will be delivered after three months to QA, he said, adding that it would take at least six to nine months for any other airline to operate this aircraft.”This is a game-changer for us,” he said.
QATAR Airways (QA) is expected to take delivery of all the 42 A350-1000 planes from Airbus in the next five years, he added.
“We also have the flexibility to replace orders for A350-900s with A350-1000s. So, we have decided to convert some of the A350-900s to A350-1000s. The number of our orders for A350-1000 can go up to 45 to 50,” he said.
“Our liking for A350-1000 is based on the fact that it the most fuel-efficient aircraft we have ever received. Making this aircraft more special is that the world’s highest Internet connectivity is installed on this plane,” Baker said.
He said,”I am delighted to have this state-of-the-art aircraft join our fleet, which will offer our passengers the modern and spacious cabins in the sky, fitted with our award-winning Qsuite Business Class seat, where they will experience our unrivalled five-star service.”
The new A350-1000 will go into full commercial service on the airline’s Doha-London route, on which the A350-900, the A380, Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner already operate, offering six flights a day between Qatar and the UK’s capital.
After performing a celebratory fly-by over Doha’s Corniche, the arrival of the aircraft from the Airbus production facility in Toulouse, France, was greeted by a celebratory water cannon salute.
In a statement issued by Qatar Airways, Minister of Finance and Chairman of Qatar Airways Group HE Ali Shareef al Emadi said,”As a nation, we are tremendously proud to accept this aircraft as part of Qatar Airways’ fleet by bringing it to Doha. It is a testament to our continued commitment to the expansion of our national carrier, and to operating the most modern and technologically advanced aircraft available in the skies. We look forward to welcoming passengers from around the world on board our spectacular new A350-1000.”
The arrival of the A350-1000 is a sign of the airline’s continued commitment to rolling out Qsuite across its fleet. The first aircraft fully-fitted with Qsuite was launched on the Doha-London route last summer on the B777, and was soon followed by service to Paris and New York, with service to Washington DC launched most recently last month.