At a ceremony at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France, Qatar Airlines showcased the delivery of the first A350-1000 widebody aircraft. As the official launch customer of the A350-1000, Qatar ordered a total of 42 planes that the carrier will eventually integrate into its growing fleet over the next few years.
Although the Qatar A350-1000 is a passenger-configuration jet, it is also a cargo-friendly aircraft, with room to accommodate 14 pallets in its belly and a bulk hold volume of 11.3 cubic meters. The previous generation of the A350 family – the A350-900 – has a capacity of 11 pallets with the same bulk hold volume.
With freighter slots limited into many important airports in Qatar Airway’s network, aircraft with significant belly capacity are becoming increasingly important to its cargo network, offering scheduled connectivity.
The new aircraft is also more powerful in terms of thrust on take-off, and is more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. Qatar hasn’t revealed any immediate plans to expand its freight network, but according to Airbus, the A350-1000 “will be capable of supporting long-haul routes to emerging markets such as Shanghai-Boston or Paris-Santiago, as well as more traditional flight segments, such as Manchester-Los Angeles or Dubai-Melbourne.”
Currently, Qatar’s fleet exceeds 200 aircraft, including nine Airbus A380s, twenty-one A350-900s, four A340-600s, thirteen A330-300s, thirteen A330-200s, seven A321-200s, thirty-nine A320s and two A319LRs.
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