5 JANUARY 2015
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It was all smiles at Toulouse just before the holidays when HE Akbar Al Baker, President of Qatar Airways, took delivery of the very first Airbus A350 XWB.
The airline has committed for 80 A350s out of a total current Airbus order book for 778 from 41 customers.
The hand-over had been delayed slightly due to what was described as “small technical issues”. The aircraft will be introduced on the Doha – Frankfurt route on 15 January.
Rolls-Royce is the sole engine supplier for the A350 with the wings built at Chester. In fact it could be termed a British aircraft assembled in France.
A development of the A330/A340, with a wider cross section (19ft 6” v 18.ft 6”) the aircraft is built from 53% composite, 19% aluminium-lithium alloy, 14% Titanium, and just 6% traditional steel. It is claimed by Airbus to have 25% less fuel burn that of a Boeing 777.
The Toulouse introduction included the usual press melee (just how many French TV stations are there?) and a short flight on the aircraft. What was apparent is the width of the new plane and the attention to detail of the offerings in both the Business and Economy Class cabins. Full LED lighting is supplied and the cabin is pressurised at 6,000ft (rather than the traditional 9,000ft). www.airbus.com www.qatarairways.com
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