Qatar Airways (Doha) will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft in June and will inaugurate A380 luxury flights with a daily flight to London (Heathrow). The airline has 13 on order. The first Airbus A380-861 will be registered A7-APA (msn 137) and is already painted pending delivery.
Qatar Airways is also the launch customer for the new Airbus A350, with 80 A350s on order. The first will be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year and will reportedly be assigned to the New York (JFK) route (not yet conformed by the airline).
Qatar says it has a total of 300 Airbus and Boeing jets on order, including options.
The fast-growing airline issued this statement and photos today:
At a press conference this morning (March 5), on the first day of ITB Berlin, Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker together with the airline’s new Country Manager for Germany and Austria, Günter Saurwein, made a series of announcements regarding the airline’s highly anticipated first Airbus A380-800, with the first display of the new luxury First Class seats (above) that will form part of the aircraft’s tri-class configuration.
With a customized interior meeting the high demand specifications of Qatar Airways, the airline´s new A380s will undoubtedly be the talk of aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike when the first aircraft enters service this year, the first of 13 such aircraft on order.
Featuring a tri-class configuration of seating in First, Business and Economy, over two decks, the A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world and will provide a superior traveller experience to the airline’s customers.
The new First Class A380 seat, revealed by Mr. Al Baker at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Berlin, Mr Klaus Wowereit as Guest of Honour, features a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of entertainment options displayed on individual 19-inch television screens.
Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “It is a landmark moment to see this fantastic new First Class A380 seat displayed here at ITB Berlin, the perfect event at which to announce such important innovations to our global audience. Operating on the Doha to London Heathrow route, this cabin will offer a new level of comfort for passengers travelling to the United Kingdom, who will also benefit from our Premium Terminal in Doha and the new Qatar Airways Premium Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.
The arrival this year of the airline´s first A380 marks a significant milestone for the airline, whose future home, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has been specially designed to cater to the aircraft, with six contact gates designed with specifications required for the super jumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which will be the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.
Qatar Airways is also celebrating a year of intensive fleet growth and recently becoming a member of the oneworld global alliance network, as well as exclusive codeshare partnerships with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines, offering customers seamless journeys.
In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’s launch customer. This forms part of Qatar Airways plans to significantly expand its fleet with 300 additional aircraft, worth more than US $50 billion, on order, including the Boeing 787 and 777X.
Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker continued: “The last 12 months have been witness to huge strides taken forward by Qatar Airways in our desire to be the world’s leading airline, flying the youngest and most modern fleet. Most notably, we became the only airline in the Gulf to join the prestigious oneworld global alliance and I am thrilled for what this means not just for us as an airline, but for our passengers as well.”
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 136 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
As part of its aggressive expansion program, Qatar Airways will launch routes to a further six new destinations during 2014: Philadelphia (USA) from April 2; Larnaca (Cyprus) from April 29; Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Turkey) from May 22; Edinburgh (Scotland) from May 28; Miami (USA) from June 10 and Dallas/Fort Worth (USA) from July 1.
Video: The first flight of the first Qatar A380 (now fully painted):
All photos by Qatar Airways.Qatar Airways: