Qatar Airways has delayed taking Airbus' new A350-1000 jet – for which it is the much-vaunted global launch customer – because of problems with the airline's unique Qsuite business class seats.
“The installation of the Qsuite is taking longer than what we expected,” said Airline CEO Akbar Al Baker, absolving the manufacturer of the seats of blame for the delay. Al Baker said that the complex design of the suites had implications for the certification of the aircraft.
The first plane now belongs to the airline but remains at Airbus' base in Toulouse for fitting out.
Qatar Airways had been slated to fly the first A350-1000 airliner in December, a date later pushed back to January, but will now take delivery of the jetliner in February once issues with the seat installation have been resolved, Al Baker said Monday.
Airbus itself met the contract deadline, according to the CEO, who has previously blamed the planemaker and its suppliers for delays affecting the original A350 and A320neo aircraft.
The Qsuite seats, developed by Qatar Airways and B/E Aerospace, are installed so that sets of four face each other to form a mini meeting area once barriers are dropped.
Each berth can also dock with the one next to it to create what the carrier says is the industry’s first double bed in a business-class cabin.
Qatar Airways has ownership of key elements of the design, which took two years to develop and has already been installed on some of its Boeing 777 jets.