Qatar Airways A350-1000 Debut Delayed Because of Qsuites
The world will have to wait a bit longer for the first commercial flight of the newest Airbus, the A350-1000, Qatar Airways, the launch customer of the bigger version of the A350, said on Wednesday that the first flight has been delayed because of its innovative business class, the new Qsuites product.
As reported by Bloomberg, certification for the Qsuite is responsible for the holdup. The complex design of the seat and suite, which is widely considered to be the best business-class product in the skies, has slowed down the certification process, and therefore the debut of the A350-1000 for Qatar.
"The installation of the Qsuite is taking longer than what we expected," said Qatar's CEO Akbar Al Baker. The aircraft is already owned by and has been delivered to Qatar, however it's still at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The carrier is now expecting to begin flying the A350-1000 at some point in February.
For once — and to the surprise of many — Al Baker isn't blaming Airbus or its suppliers for the delay. When the deliveries of its first A350 and A320neo aircraft were delayed, Al Baker took to blaming the planemaker and its suppliers directly. This time, however, he said that Airbus met its contract obligations.
Qatar already has its Qsuite product installed on some of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft — check out TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig's review of Qsuites on the 777-300ER. It's not unusual for an airline to have certification issues when installing a new product on a new aircraft — even if it already has the product installed on another type of aircraft. This is likely just a small bump in the A350-1000 operational process with Qatar.