The airline will be the global launch operator of the Airbus A350 XWB, and Qatar Airways are expected to receive their first of the aircraft before the end of the year.
The aircraft will be paired with a daily Doha – Frankfurt route from January 2015. The airline currently flies twice a day between the two cities with the QR67/68 being the first to be operated by the Extra Wide Body aircraft. The airline will operate flight QR69/70 with the new aircraft shortly afterwards, but there are no firm dates.
The airline has reportedly chosen the European city for its first route for the Extra Wide Body service because of the significant capacity the aircraft provides for the comfort of its business and leisure travellers.
Qatar Airways’ first A350 will be the mid-sized A350-900 which can seat 283 passengers across a dual-cabin layout, with 247 seats in economy and 36 in business class.
The airline currently has 80 of the A350 aircraft on order - 43 of which are the mid-sized A350-900, and 37 of the stretched A350-1000, which has room for 350 passengers in a three-class cabin and will enter service in mid-2017. The airline hopes to induct the first eight aircraft in production into its fleet by the end of 2015.
Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways said: “Qatar Airways looks forward to inaugurating our first A350 on the Doha – Frankfurt route, and to very soon introducing this next-generation of aircraft on many other cities offered on the airline’s extensive network.”
The aircraft made its maiden flight over the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France last week in full Qatar Airways livery. Following the inaugural flight, Qatar’s A350 XWB is now continuing its production phase, including cabin completion and further ground and flight tests, before final delivery.
“We are delighted to see the new A350 taking to the skies in our livery,” said Mr Akbar Al Baker.
With a cross-section of 220 inches from armrest to armrest, the A350’s cabin provides the widest seats in its category, offering its passengers a unique experience of space and comfort.
Passengers will also enjoy more headroom, wider panoramic windows and larger overhead storage space.
The airline will reach 146 destinations by the end of the year, after they launch new services to Djibouti, in the Republic of Djibouti, on October 26 and Asmara, in Eritrea on December 4.
Qatar Airways took delivery of its first double-decker A380 in September this year which operates on Qatar’s daily route from Doha – Heathrow.
“This year has truly been a Year of the Fleet for Qatar Airways. The airline has demonstrated its commitment to quality and comfort offered onboard and to providing passengers with the leading technology available in the aviation industry,” Mr Akbar Al Baker said.