Qatar Airways CEO promises Airbus A350 for Perth in early 2015

By David Flynn, May 5 2014
Qatar Airways CEO promises Airbus A350 for Perth in early 2015

Qatar Airways will fly its new Airbus A350 to Perth in early 2015 as one of the launch routes for the next-generation jetliner, according to airline CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Speaking at a press conference at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Al Baker told Australian Business Traveller that the current daily Perth-Doha Boeing 777 service would be upgraded to the new Airbus A350 "in early 2015, I hope."

Al Baker said that Perth was chosen both for being an "ultra long-haul route" from Qatar's Doha hub as well as for its importance as Australia's "mineral resources capital."

"The size (of a city) doesn't matter to us, it is the economic activity in that place that matters to us" Al Baker said.

"Perth will not be the launch route for the A350 but it will be one of the first ultra long-haul routes that we will operate" he added.

Qatar previously intended to run a Boeing 787 Dreamliner onto the Perth-Doha route from February 1st 2013, but cancelled those plans just two weeks shy of the launch when the Boeing 787 was grounded around the world after a series of critical overheating problems with the lithium-ion battery system.

However, Al Baker admitted that the long Perth-Doha flight would have been towards the edge of the operating range of the early model Boeing 787-8s which were ordered without the necessary crew rest.

By comparison, he said, the flight "can comfortably be flown by an Airbus A350 which is designed for these ultra long-haul routes."

Qatar's focus on Perth comes as its Gulf competitors also sharpen their sights on the WA capital.

Emirates is tipped to begin Airbus A380 flights to Perth later this year, while Etihad begins flying to Perth from July 15 this year and has also earmarked a Boeing 787-9 for Perth in the future.

Read: Etihad A380s for Sydney, Melbourne; Boeing 787s for Brisbane, Perth

At the same time, Qantas has axed regular international flights from Perth, with the Flying Kangaroo's Perth-Singapore route being shuttered from May 12th.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce attributed the controversial decision to "a giant wave of airline capacity that has reshaped Australian aviation", especially from low-cost airlines, partnered with "ongoing record fuel prices."

Read: Qantas CEO – "Why we pulled out of Perth"

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 441

Upgrade is such a vague word these days.  Going from a mix of 77W and 77L, but mostly 77W which seats >340 to an A359 which seats up to ~300.  I understand F will probably be available, but still...

More like an advertising upgrade.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

The "upgrade" in this situation would be the added benefits that come from the latest generation aircrafts. The A350 will offer lower cabin pressure/higher humidity (something the 777X when it arrives won't). Plus you will be getting the latest seats and inflight entertainment systems.

So yes, the seat numbers might be lower, however there are a number of other improvements which means the term upgrade is valid in this instance.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

I think you'll find the 777x will be including the cabin humidity enhancements and some as per the below link.  There's no way Boeing will release such an important product with outdated technology.  777 is an amazing product and it's history of success speaks for itself. I'm sure the A350 will be great competition.

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 43

It's great to see "you guys" out west finally recognised as Al Baker says about Perth the "mineral resource capital", and Alan Joyce citing "a giant wave of airline capacity........and ongoing record fuel prices".

Either Alan Joyce talks through his bottom or he needs a new spin doctor. 

Good on you Etihad. 

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 43

.....Make that ..good on you Qatar. 

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