Airbus flight test A350-1000 jetliner is back home after a demonstration tour to Middle East and Asia-Pacific destinations, a three-week trip that underscored all the attributes this largest A350 XWB version brings in upsized efficiency, maximum reliability and unique passenger comfort for fast-growing regions of the global airline marketplace.
Qatar Airways, which has ordered both the A350-1000 and the 777X, indicated it was moving in the opposite direction and said it could shift more of its A350 orders to the largest model.
The aircraft is the first of 37 A350-1000s ordered by the carrier and is the first ever Airbus aircraft fitted with the revolutionary new Qsuite seats, offering the first ever double bed in Business class. Qatar Airways is the world's largest A350 XWB family customer with 76 aircraft on order and the largest A350-1000 customer.
Qatar's first A350-1000 will enter service on the airline's existing route between London Heathrow and Doha before eventually being used for flights to the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and longer range flights to Australasia.
The official handover ceremony took place on Tuesday (European time) at Airbus's headquarters in Toulouse, France. Marisa Lucas, Airbus' head of A350 XWB Marketing, said the A350-1000 does have two other customers choosing this option, but maintains the cabin allows for an 18-inch seat width.
The Doha-based carrier had previously been linked to the CSeries. "Hexcel is proud to be a partner-supplier to Airbus and to have Hexcel carbon fiber and composite materials incorporated into so many structural parts in the A350 XWB family".
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The new aircraft is also more powerful in terms of thrust on take-off, and is more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.
The A350-1000 is 73.78m in length, 6.98m longer than the A350-900, and is created to fly 7,950nm carrying 366 passengers, 41 more passengers than the A350-900 which is already flying with a number of airlines.
The A350-1000 is Airbus' latest and largest widebody in the twin-aisle category.
To date Airbus holds 854 orders firm orders for the A350, of which 146 had been delivered by the end of January. During the event, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker claimed the aircraft was "truly visionary in every respect", and that this delivery was "the crown" in Brégier's career.
But sales of the 777-300ER have picked up, and Boeing is working on plans to leapfrog the A350-1000 with an upgraded 777X boasting over 400 seats. (Airbus) Projection mapping technology projects the Doha skyline onto the fuselage of Qatar Airways' first A350-1000.