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Tuesday was a big day for Qatar Airways and Airbus. The European aircraft manufacturer handed over the first A350-1000 to Qatar Airways today at a ceremony in Toulouse, France.

The aircraft is Airbus’ newest twin-aisle jet, and Qatar Airways had already been the launch customer for the shorter -900 version, in 2015. The first route for the new jet will be between Doha (DOH) and London Heathrow (LHR) with the inaugural commercial flight taking off on Saturday, February 24. Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the -1000 will soon begin service to the US East Coast.

Qatar airways Akbar Al Baker
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker (brown suit) at the delivery ceremony for the world’s first commercial A350-1000. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

 

The A350-1000 joins 23 A350-900s in Qatar’s fleet. The Doha-based carrier has a total of 37 A350-1000s on order, more than anyone else.

With a fuselage that’s 23 feet longer than the A350-900’s, the new aircraft seats 327 passengers in Qatar’s configuration compared to 283 for the smaller version. Along with improvements on the passenger experience side, the A350-1000 is equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, and is more fuel-efficient, in terms of fuel burn per passenger, than the -900, with which it shares a lightweight carbon-fiber airframe. Airbus claims the -1000 is 25% more efficient than its main competitor, the Boeing 777-300ER, which is slightly larger.

This will be the first Airbus aircraft that’s equipped with Qatar’s new QSuite business class seats, which was previously only featured on the carrier’s 777-300ER. The A350-1000 can hold well more than 400 passengers in an all-economy layout, although Qatar has arranged the aircraft with far fewer seats than that — and in just two classes, business and economy, with no first or premium economy.

The business class cabin is furnished with 46 Qsuites seats in a 1-2-1 layout, all allowing for direct aisle access. The back of the aircraft with feature 281 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Thankfully, booking Qatar QSuites with points is possible and will run you just 42,500 American miles for a one-way flight on the London-Doha route.

Airbus shared a video on the making of the first aircraft.

Qatar is considering upgrading some of its current A350-900 orders to the -1000 model.“There is a possibility that we could convert some of the 900s to the 1000,” CEO Al Baker said. The -1000s have a list price of $367 million and Qatar has a total of 76 aircraft from the A350 family on order.

Image by Qatar Airways / YouTube.

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