First Airbus A350 for Qatar to fly December 22

By David Flynn, December 13 2014
First Airbus A350 for Qatar to fly December 22

The first Airbus A350 will be handed over to launch customer Qatar Airways on December 22 ahead of its inaugural commercial flight between Doha and Frankfurt on January 15.

The Gulf airline, which is the prized global launch customer for the A350, has ordered 80 of the twin-aisle jets.

Qatar Airways' A350-900s will have 36 seats in business class  and 247 in economy.

In addition to ordering 43 of the mid-sized A350-900, Qatar has also signed up for 37 of the stretched A350-1000, which has room for 350 passengers in a three-class cabin and will enter service in mid-2017.

Qatar's colours previously adorned one of the A350 test aircraft as a special 'launch customer' livery.

While Qatar will be first to fly the Airbus A350, several other airlines will be quick to follow.

South America's LATAM Airlines Group, comprising Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM, has already revealed its A350 cabin and seating designs, including front-facing business class seats (in a 2-2-2 layout) which convert to fully lie-flat beds.

Finnair's Airbus A350 fleet, which will begin flying in the second half of 2015 to Asia, will sport the popular Zodiac Cirrus seat – best known as the business class seat of Cathay Pacific, and also used by American Airlines and Air France.

Read: Finnair reveals new Airbus A350 seats, interiors

We've even caught a sneak peek at what could be British Airways' next generation of Club World business class seats for the Airbus A350 and potentially other members of the BA fleet.

Patent applications filed by the airline and renowned design firm PriestmanGoode reveals a herringbone-style layout which gives each passenger direct aisle access plus an oversized seat that's closer to a one-person couch.

In fact, BA's mock-up artwork calls it a sofa rather than a seat, and we wouldn't be surprised if the final product – should this design come to fruition – was marketed as the Club World Suite.

Photo gallery: British Airways' Airbus A350 Club World business class prototype

One A350 airline which is keeping its power dry is Cathay Pacific, although we do know that CX will launch all-new seat designs for its Airbus A350 fleet, with Porsche Design Group crafting new business class seats codenamed ‘FB3’.

Also on the roster is London-based Tangerine, perhaps best known as the former home of Apple design guru Jony Ive, which is responsible for Cathay's new economy seats plus a ‘tip to tail’ brief to design the cabin interiors for all three classes on the Airbus A350.

Read: Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350 next-gen business class

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

Not a very inspired livery...

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

"which uses similar carbon-firbe composite construction to the Boeing 787"
The B787 is carbon fibre barrel constuction meaning the composite skin serves a double function holding the aircraft's loads while the A350 uses pannels that are put onto a Al-Li frame, which means the pannels are not carrying the same loads like a more classical plane.  Since the width of the carbon fibre is set by external impact resistance rather than load requirements, it means there is waisted capacity in the aircraft design on the A350 which the B787 takes advantage of.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Phalanger: that's very interesting, to see the same materials (carbon-fibre) used in those very different ways. I suppose this will mean the A350 can't have the same larger windows as the Boeing 787, or the same higher cabin pressure (lower effective altitude) and higher humidity, because the airframe itself is still aluminium?

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

They can since the material around the windows frame is the same (just the windows must be space to avoid the airframe).  They have followed similar humidity and cabin pressure.  AI-LI is very good with strength, but has corrosion issues at metal fracture sites.  So it will require more inspections as the frame ages.  That said it is also very important to make sure water is not entering the layers of carbon fibre.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

Which cabin products are they using? Also how many cabin classes are they putting?


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Alvin: as far as I know Qatar has not revealed this but I would expect Qatar's first A350 being an A350-900 will just be business and economy. And I would expect they will use the same business seats as they do on their Boeing 787s, which are pretty good ones.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

If I remember correctly they said it would be the 1-2-1 busniess class a few weeks ago 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 43

Airbus has a thing or two to learn from Boeing when it comes to overhead bin design.

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

Yes, those things belong in a sci-fi movie rather than a calming environment...

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