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Qatar Airways last night welcomed the airline’s first A350 XWB aircraft, as global launch customer, at a spectacular ceremony in Doha.

The event was inaugurated in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud. Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance, His Excellency Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, the Minister of Transport, His Excellency Mr. Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, His Excellency the Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada and the Chairman of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority, His Excellency Mr. Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The delivery of this new aircraft category into the Qatar Airways’ fleet, as global launch customer, is a moment of absolute national pride for Qatar Airways and the State of Qatar.

“Through the dedication and hard work of the young men and women who work for our national airline, the innovation and development of our five-star customer offering each and every day, and the investment in the latest aeronautical design and technology, I believe that the State of Qatar has an airline to be truly proud of and one that is globally renowned and regarded.”

The ceremony, which included music from Portuguese singing sensation, Suzy Guerra, commenced with an elegant dinner followed by a laser light show highlighting the journey of the A350 XWB, from inception through to production.

The unique laser-light display was digitally mapped onto the newly revealed aircraft and guests were then given the opportunity to tour the new aircraft to see first-hand the five-star passenger experience that is sure to greet all those travelling on board the A350 XWB.

As global launch customer for the A350 XWB, Qatar Airways will be the only airline to fly this aircraft type for the foreseeable future, and was a significant contributor to its cutting-edge design in partnership with aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.

The A350 XWB signals a new chapter in aviation history and will be a brand new aircraft type projected for the industry for the next decade, of which Qatar Airways has ordered 80.

The first commercial service will be deployed on the Frankfurt route on 15 January 2015.

The delivery is the second significant fleet milestone for the airline in almost as many months, having recently taken delivery of its first A380 aircraft in September.

The A350 XWB will comprise a two class configuration with 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring an 80” fully flat bed and 17” HD in-flight entertainment screen. Economy Class will comprise of 247 seats at 18-inches wide in a 3-3-3 configuration, with up to a 32-inch pitch. Each individual seat will feature a 10.6” in-flight entertainment screen, and more space at shoulder level for passengers in window seats, thanks to a vertical side wall panel design.

Over 70 percent of the A350 XWB’s weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The aircraft’s innovative all-new Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage results in lower fuel burn as well as easier maintenance.

Qatar Airways is the only airline in the world to operate every family of Airbus’ modern airline portfolio. In addition to the 80 A350s it has on order, the airline has a current Airbus fleet comprising of the A320, A330 Freighter, A319LR, A321, A330, A340 and A380 families.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 146 aircraft to 146 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

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