Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000: To Aid its Expansion Ambitions Amid Regional Blockade

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000: The aircraft that the airline expects to aid it in its expansion ambitions.

Airbus has delivered its first A350-1000 to Qatar Airways on February 20, 2018. This makes Qatar Airways the launch customer of this aircraft variant.

The airline will launch initial flight with A350-1000 on 24th Feb. from Doha to London Heathrow.

Qatar Airways is eventually planning to use this aircraft on other longer routes such as from Doha to US East Coast.

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A350-1000: 42 ordered, expects to receive 5 more this year.

A350-900s: 39 orders, 21 delivered

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Qatar Airways currently also operates Airbus A350-900s which was first delivered to the airline in late 2014, and is also one of the largest operators of this aircraft type.

However, the airline has hinted that it might consider converting some of it A350-900 orders in favor of the larger A350-1000 variant.

A350-1000 was certified on November 2017 and was initially scheduled to be delivered to Qatar Airways last year (by the end of 2017). However, due to some issues related to the installation of its ‘Business Class Qsuite”, the initial planned schedule got delayed to this year.

Qatar Airways’ Expansion Ambitions Amid Regional Blockade

In June 2017, several Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed regional blockade (severing air, land and sea links), accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

The regional blockade forced Qatar Airways to fly longer routes via Turkey and Iran, which was of course not good for the airline from economic perspective.

On Feb. 13 2018, Qatar Airways’ CEO said that the airline will post a loss for the 2017 financial year, and regional blockade is the main reason for this outcome.

Despite these circumstances, the airline says that blockade has not diminished Qatar Airways’ expansion ambitions.

Qatar Airways operates a fleet of more than 200 aircraft to more than 150 destinations across Europe, Middle east, Africa, Asia-Pacific, North America and South America.

As part of its expansion plans, the airline is launching new flight routes in 2018, to destinations including Penang (Malaysia), Canberra (Australia), and Cardiff (UK), to name a few.

And now with the addition of Airbus A350-1000 to its fleet, the airline is planning to further pursue its expansion on longer routes, including to the US East Coast.

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New Destinations: In 2017, Qatar Airways launched services to 11 new destinations: Auckland, Nice, Dublin, Skopje, Sohar, Kiev, Prague, Sarajevo, Adana, Chiang Mai and St. Petersburg.

Increased Frequency: To Bangkok, Krabi, Warsaw, Helsinki, Moscow, Prague and Kiev.

Expansion 2018: Planned direct services to Pattaya (Thailand) and Penang (Malaysia) in Feb. 2018.

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Business Class QSuite 

Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 are also equipped with its ‘business class Qsuite’ which is developed by B/E Aerospace.

The airline had unveiled its Qsuites back in March 2017 at ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse), Berlin.

The business class Qsuites were launched with Qatar’s Boeing 777-300ER fleet, initially on Doha-London route in June, on Doha-Paris route in September, and to the US (Doha-New York JFK and Washington Dulles) routes in December, 2017.

Qatar Airways is highlighting its Qsuite feature on A350-1000s as well; as the main selling proposition to attract business-class customers on the long-haul flights.

Each Qsuite has its own sliding door and can be closed for privacy.

Airbus A350-1000: Aircraft Configuration

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Range: 14750 km (7950 nm)

Seating: 366 (Typical, three-class configuration),

               440 (Maximum, all economy)

Fuselage Length: 74 meters (242 ft 5 in), Longest fuselage for A350 family

Engine: Rolls-Royce XWB-97

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  • Airbus A350-1000 is now the largest twin-engine jet ever produced by Airbus.

Demand for A350-1000s

Qatar Airways is one of the largest customers for this aircraft variant. However, how’s the aircraft faring with other customers and what’s the market standing for Airbus?

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A350-1000 Orders: 169 firm orders from 11 customers
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Airbus A350-1000 is positioned against Boeing’s 777-300ER. According to Airbus, A350-1000 saves 25% in fuel and operating cost, as compared to the 777-300ER.

Airbus had initially planned to develop a further bigger third variant of the A350 family to compete with Boeing’s 777-300ER and 777X (over 400 seats).

However, as reported in the media, Airbus is not that keen to spend its resources and effort on a bigger A350 version for now and instead wants to strongly back the A350-1000 variant to compete with Boeing’s 777-300ER.