By Andy Sambidge
Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker hails 'very proud moment' to add A350 to its growing fleet
Airbus said on Monday that it has delivered the first A350 XWB, the world’s latest generation widebody airliner, to launch customer Qatar Airways.
The handover was originally scheduled for December 13, but was postponed by the airline, triggering speculation of a repeat of cabin problems which had delayed delivery if its first A380.
The A350 is made with carbon composite fuselage and is a direct competitor to Boeing's composite 787 Dreamliner.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Receiving the A350 XWB as global launch customer is a very proud moment for Qatar Airways, and after much anticipation, I am delighted that the day has come when we will welcome this latest generation aircraft into our rapidly expanding fleet.
“In the seven years since we first placed our order for this new aircraft type at the Paris Air Show, investing in a partnership programme with Airbus, there has been significant growth in the airline industry.
"I am confident that this increase in passenger numbers around the world will only increase further in the years to come, and delighted that Qatar Airways will be leading the way in the aviation sector in offering our passengers the opportunity to travel on board the most modern of airliners in the sky.”
In a previous statement, Qatar Airways said its first A350 XWB will be deployed on its Frankfurt route from January 2015.
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO said: “Handing over the first A350 XWB represents a significant step in Airbus and aviation history.
"It is with tremendous pride that we are delivering our first A350 XWB today to our launch customer, Qatar Airways. It’s a perfect match, to be handing over the first of an all-new, world class aircraft to a leading, world class airline.”
At the end of November, the A350 XWB had won 778 orders from 41 customers worldwide.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.