Qatar Airways has confirmed that it is to purchase 80 Airbus A350XWB aircraft for an undisclosed price, in a deal that supersedes the Middle East carrier”s previous agreement to buy 60 of the original A350 aircraft.
Following Airbus” design revamp of the A350, speculation had mounted that Qatar might be interested in Boeing”s 787, although the carrier remained tight-lipped on that possibility, but today”s news underlines its commitment to buy 20 A350-800, 40 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 aircraft, with delivery slated from 2013.
The Memorandum of Agreement was inked in Paris today (30 May) in one of newly-elected French president, Nicolas Sarkozy”s first major industrial set-pieces, as well as by Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al-Baker and Airbus president and CEO, Louis Gallois.
”The A350XWB will equip Qatar Airways with the very latest generation and most modern fleet and shares the same cockpit commonality with other Airbus aircraft, especially the A380,” said Al-Baker.
Airbus themselves were understandably bullish about the deal that sets a real marker for its A350XWB in the face of the runaway success of Boeing”s 787 offering. ”This is an outstanding endorsement of our newest product by a leading world carrier,” said Gallois, adding: ”Qatar Airways has been a long-standing Airbus customer with orders straddling all our aircraft families, including the A380.”
Qatar is the largest all-Airbus operator in the Middle East, with a fleet that includes aircraft from the A320, A300/A310 and A330/340 families, as well as a customer for the A380.