Airbus has delivered the world's first A350-1000 widebody airliner to launch customer Qatar Airways during a formal aircraft handover ceremony at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
"There is a possibility that we could convert some of the 900s to the 1000", Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said. And at 23 feet longer than the A350-900, it will also enable us to substantially increase our capacity on the routes on which we operate it, offering 46 Business Class seats in our award-winning and revolution-ary Qsuite, and 281 extra-wide 18-inch seats in Economy Class.
The A350-1000 is Airbus' latest and largest wide-body in the twin-aisle category. For the first time on an Airbus aircraft, Hexcel's HexMC carbon fiber/epoxy molding compound has also been used for the A350-1000 fuselage crutches.
The A350-1000 is created to seat 366 people and competes head-to-head with Boeing's profitable 777.
A leading Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways has been exploring investment opportunities in India, one of the fastest growing in the world. They come in at USD$317.4 million at current list prices.
The prospect of upgrades will come as a relief to Airbus, which is gambling on the A350-1000 to contain any market pressure from the 777 as Boeing develops its new model. 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 NY, with service to Washington, D.C. launched most recently last month.
Qatar Airways has already added many new exciting destinations to its network in 2018, including Pattaya, Thailand; Penang, Malaysia and Canberra, Australia, with direct service to Cardiff, United Kingdom; Mykonos, Greece; and Malaga, Spain, set to launch this year.
Qatar Airways is known for its commitment to global firsts; in addition to being the global launch customer for the A350-1000, the airline was also the global launch customer for the A350-900 in 2014.
"Yes, there may in future be a requirement for more of these airplanes for Qatar Airways, especially when we do further enhancements of our acquisitions", he said.