Qatar Airways plans A350 flights for Perth, delays Auckland launch

By Chris Chamberlin, May 4 2016
Qatar Airways plans A350 flights for Perth, delays Auckland launch

Qatar Airways plans to upgrade its Perth flights to the advanced Airbus A350, although there's a question mark hanging over when that switch from the current Boeing 777s will take place.

Speaking at a press event in Adelaide, Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker could only confirm to Australian Business Traveller that the switch would happen “eventually, when (Qatar Airways) has enough A350s” in its fleet.

Qatar currently has eight A350s in the air, out of a whopping 72 on firm order – but the three newest jets remain grounded at Airbus HQ until the airline considers them up to scratch.

“Qatar Airways is very picky when it comes to quality,” Al Baker stressed, “and if we find that our aircraft are not meeting the build standards that Qatar Airways will accept, we will not accept the deliveries.”

The Oneworld member and de facto Qantas partner previously promised Perth would see A350 flights in "early 2015", having scuppered earlier plans to fly the Boeing 787 on the long Perth-Doha route.

A350 delays: knock-on effects for Auckland, Adelaide

Delays in A350 production have also caused a knock-on effect for the airline’s planned Auckland-Doha flights, previously slated for December 3 but now pushed back until February 2017.

While the airline will fly the long-range Boeing 777-200LR aircraft to Auckland, it needs the Airbus A350 to free up that Boeing 777 from another Qatar route in order to start the New Zealand service.

Adelaide will prove another victim of the A350 delays with flights temporarily reduced from daily to six-times-weekly from later this year “in order to cater for other destinations… as we have already launched them,” Al Baker explains.

Firm dates are yet to be decided, although the decrease in frequency will only occur for a 12-week period, after which full daily service will be restored.

Qatar Airways and the Airbus A350

Despite the Airbus A350 delays and the network issues they cause, Al Baker continues speaking highly of the next-gen jet for which Qatar Airways was the global launch customer.

“It has outstanding comfort and reliability,” he continues, starting from “when you enter the aircraft: normally you’d go through a galley, but on the A350s you really enter into a lounge space, and this space is converted into an activity area, so after take-off and seatbelts are off, passengers can gather here and socialise.”

The Airbus A350 also features a lower ‘cabin altitude’ to minimise fatigue on longer flights and carries the lowest engine noise level of any twin-engine aircraft to provide passengers with the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

Qatar Airways now flies the A350 to four continents – Australia, Asia, North America and Europe – with this week’s Adelaide-Doha launch marking Australia’s first scheduled A350 route.

Also read: Qatar Airways to fly Airbus A380 to Sydney from September

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Adelaide as a guest of Qatar Airways.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 294

Now if only Qantas had gone for the A350 over the camped and nasty B787. Could have given Qatar a run for its money.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"if only Qantas had gone for the A350 over the camped and nasty B787."

1st of all, I think U are probably talking about Y cabin(Not the focus of this website anyway to the best of my knowledge) because I hv never seen nor aware of a premium cabin(i.e. F, J or even PY) on any 787 that can realistically be described as "cramped or nasty"......not even remotely.

2ndly, pls kindly educate us on how did U arrive @ your conclusion that the 350 is noticeably superior to the 787 in terms of Y cabin comfort level.  Specifically in similar /equal cabin config /stds(e.g. illogical to compare a LCC configured 787 such as JQ's against a premium longhaul configured 359 such as QR's), what measures /metrics hv U discovered to determine a 350 is noticeably more comfortable than a 787?

Pls kindly try to avoid religious belief in Airbus PR voodoo magics(e.g. the so-called significantly wider Y seat on a 350 over the 787) or gut feelings in your explanation.  Thx a lot.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

How long does it take you to type up all those lengthy comments?

Never believe 100% for Chief Akbar Al Baker comment. Just wait until all really materialize. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Yeah he's said a lot of crap in the past.

Air Berlin - topbonus

30 Apr 2015

Total posts 14

Friday Qatar Airways just published a special offer for flights from Germany to Auckland from December 3rd onwards.

I booked it for myself (5.12. DOH_AKL, 3.1. AKL-DOH) and wonder why they are publishing an offer if they will be unable to meet it by themselves.

Patrick, you may want to call qatar airways as doha-auckland now will start sometime in February 2017.


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