The CEO of Qatar Airways has said he believes the Airbus A350 will be ‘one of the best aircraft flying’ and that the airline would even be interested in a bigger version.
Speaking at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday, Akbar Al Baker also said the carrier may change from some of its A350-900 variants to the larger A350-1000 model, indicating the airline’s desire to increase the range of its fleet.
“I’m sure the A350 will be one of the best aircraft flying,” Al Baker told a packed media room at the new Dubai World Central airport.
“We are amazed at what the A350-1000 can do. If they [Airbus] extend the size and stretch the airplane, we will be seriously interested in placing additional orders.”
The positive mood between Qatar Airways and Airbus was in stark contrast to two years ago when Al Baker suggested the European manufacturer was ‘still learning how to make planes’.
With Fabrice Breigier, president and CEO of Airbus, sitting alongside him, Al Baker said: “Fabrice has made it clear he won’t deliver an aircraft that does not meet its high requirements.”
Al Baker was speaking following the announcement of a firm order for five new Airbus A330-200 freight aircraft with options for an additional eight aircraft in a deal valued at $2.8 billion.
Al Baker said the new freighters will replace the carrier’s ageing mid-size aircraft.
“It’s a fantastic freight airplane and will eventually become the backbone for Qatar’s freighter fleet.”
Qatar Airways had earlier announced an order for 50 Boeing 777X jets.