Airbus A350-1000 launch customer Qatar Airways has accepted its initial aircraft, A7-ANA (msn 88). Following the aircraft’s handover in Toulouse late in February, the aircraft flew to the airline’s Doha hub, from where it operated its first route, QR15/QR16, to and from London Heathrow. The jet is the first of 37 A350-1000s for Qatar Airways, whose examples will have 327 seats (46 business class, 281 economy), 44 more than its 283-seat A350-900s. The 46 business class seats are laid out in the airline’s new Qsuite product, which features the first-ever double bed in business class. The carrier was also launch operator for the smaller A350-900, of which it had received 21 by early March.
The A350-1000 is Airbus’ largest widebody twin jet to date and offers 8,000 nautical miles (14,800km) range at service entry. It has Rolls- Royce Trent XWB-97 engines generating 97,000lb (431kN) thrust, a modified trailing edge and a sixwheel main landing gear. Cathay Pacific Airways will be the second A350-1000 operator. By early March, Airbus had received 168 orders for A350-1000s, compared to 686 for A350-900s. During A7-ANA’s delivery ceremony Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker said the carrier may up-gauge its existing A350-900 orders to A350-1000s. The airline intends to put A350- 1000s into service on routes to the east coast of the US.