DOHA: Qatar Airways will be the first airline to fly the Airbus A350-1000, giving the fast-growing Gulf airline a prestigious double crown as launch customer for both the initial A350-900 and its larger longer-range sibling.
“The A350-1000 is next on its way, and yet again Qatar Airways will be first airline to receive the A350-1000, which should be entering service in 2017” said Mike Bausor, A350 WXB Marketing Director, speaking at official launch of the Qatar A350 in Doha.
Cathay Pacific, Etihad and United Airlines have also signed on the dotted line for the A350-1000, which will carry an estimated 350 passengers in a three-class layout compared to around 310 passengers in the A350-900.
This of course depends on how each airline configures their A350 cabins: Qatar’s spacious 36 business class seats (above) and 247 18- inch wide economy seats brings the tally to 283 passengers.
Qatar’s A350 is expected to feature Qatar’s ‘super business class’ in place of a dedicated first class cabin.
Speaking to Australian Business Traveller at last year’s Arabian Travel Market, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said “We are developing a new seat which will be called super business class, and this will be introduced in just over 24 months’ time, and this will replace our current herringbone seats.”
The Airbus A380 will be the only jet in Qatar’s fleet boasting first class.
“Our premium travel is business travel, mostly, so we will keep a very limited number of first class seats, only in the A380, and all the other airplanes will only have a business class product” Al Baker said.
“We have decided that we better not have first class, but give a very good business class product, and that is what we are doing – we are really giving a first class product with a business class price.”