Qatar Airways, the launch customer of the Airbus A350 Xtra Wide Body (XMB) aircraft, is set to receive its first delivery before the end of this year.
On Thursday, the airline released photos of “freshly painted” Airbus A350 XWB on the factory lines in Toulouse, France.
Qatar Airways has ordered 80 of the widebody A350 XWB, which will be deployed on a variety of routes on its network of around 140 destinations, it said in a statement.
The A350 MSN005 development aircraft recently concluded a world tour, touching down in 14 cities, demonstrating its “readiness for airline operations on a global scale.”
Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said that the airline is currently in the midst of a massive fleet expansion programme and the incoming delivery of the Airbus A350 XWB type into the fleet will be a significant milestone for the airline.
“We take pride in introducing the latest products and services available to the industry and this new aircraft is a prime example of that,” he said.
Airbus received a big blow earlier this year, when Dubai carrier Emirates cancelled all 70 of its planned A350 XWB orders following a “fleet requirement review.”
Emirates originally placed the order for 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 in 2007, with first delivery slots scheduled from 2019. The deal was reportedly worth around $16 billion as per list prices in 2007.
However, the European planemaker said that it was confident about the A350 XMB programme. The aircraft had 742 firm orders as of June this year, and Airbus hopes that more will follow.
“Interest in the A350 has always been very high with customers and we expect the A350 order book to continue growing in 2014,” it said.