DOHA: Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker visited the home of Airbus in Toulouse, France to get a first-hand knowledge on the world's newest aircraft, A350, before its delivery later this year. Al Baker was welcomed by Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier and other employees at the A350 hangar.
The visit precedes the first flight of an A350 to Qatar today, where it will be officially welcomed at the world's newest global gateway, Hamad International Airport (HIA), by a select crowd of Qatar Airways staff and other dignitaries, before it takes to the skies for an aerial display. Qatar Airways will be the first A350 XWB operator and is also its biggest customer with 80 aircraft on order. Airbus and Qatar Airways are working closely together to ensure a successful entry-into-service of this all-new aircraft from Day One.
During his site-tour, Al Baker unveiled Airbus' newest flight test aircraft MSN4, branded with a special 'launch customer' livery. The aircraft will soon join the A350 flight test fleet for external noise and lightning tests, avionics development and certification and training for first customer pilots and maintenance teams. "Qatar Airways is proud to be the launch customer for this new aircraft, and we look forward to soon taking delivery of the first of 80 A350s. "At Qatar Airways, we are eager to open a new chapter of efficient and comfortable air travel and the A350 XWB will do this for us. The aircraft will give us that extra edge in economics and comfort to further boost our route expansion," said Al Baker. Al Baker took the opportunity to thank the Airbus staff, on behalf of everyone at Qatar Airways, for their efforts in working to fulfil the airline's order for 80 aircraft.
The Airbus A350 will be one of the world's most fuel efficient airliners, offering state-of-the-art design and comfort. Qatar Airways has a robust range of Airbus aircraft in its fleet. In addition to the 80 A350 it has on order, the airline has a current Airbus fleet comprising the A320, A300Freighter, A319LR, A321, A330 and A340 families. Qatar Airways is also a customer of the A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, and expects to take delivery of its first A380 this spring.