Airbus delivered its first A350-1000 in a blaze of color to global launch customer Qatar Tuesday night.
The aircraft delivered in a ceremony in Toulouse, France, is the first of 42 A350-1000s to be delivered to the Gulf carrier and chief executive Akbar Al Baker said it would help the airline keep ahead of the curve.
It will enter service on the Doha-London route this month and offers an additional 44 seats compared to the A350-900 for which Qatar was also the global launch customer.
The A350-1000 is powered by two higher thrust Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines featuring new engine core technology that provides take-off thrust capability of 97,000lbs and is expected to save $US2.9 million per aircraft per year in fuel.
It shares the carbon composite and titanium construction of its smaller sister but has wings that are four percent larger and features a distinctive six-wheel main landing gear.
“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 revolutionary Qsuite, and 281 extra-wide 18-inch seats in Economy Class,’’ Al Baker said.
Airbus president Fabrice Bregier said the aircraft would bring major advantages in fuel and cost efficiency.
“With its greater capacity compared to the A350-900, the newest widebody will play a major role on the carrier’s busiest long-haul routes and will contribute to strengthening their position at the forefront of the aviation industry,” he said.
The A350-1000 seats a nominal 366 passengers and is designed to compete with Boeing’s popular 777.
Airbus says it is about 25 percent more efficient than a Boeing 777-300ER while at the same time being quieter and more comfortable with a lower cabin altitude and sophisticated cabin air management.
But Boeing is hitting back with new versions of the 777 and the 777-9 scheduled to start test flights in 2019