Qatar Airways, launch customer for the Airbus A350 XWB, will use the aircraft to headline its presence at the Farnborough Airshow next week.
The Gulf carrier is believed to be planning one of the largest-ever airline presences at an airshow when it appears at the biennial UK event. It was due to be even larger, but delivery delays of the first of 13 A380s led to its appearance being scrapped earlier this week.
As well as the A350-900, which will appear in a hybrid Airbus/Qatar Airways color scheme, the airline will also be showing a sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 and a Boeing 787-8. The A350 will participate in the flying display, while the other two aircraft will be in the static display.
Qatar Airways has 80 A350s on order, split between the baseline A350-900 and the larger -1000 version. The type has completed much of its flight test program and is due to join the airline’s fleet in December.
The A350’s lightweight construction and advanced aerodynamics are aimed at producing fuel efficiency up to 25% better than typical current aircraft. More than 70% of its airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53%), titanium and advanced aluminum alloys. The aircraft’s new carbon fiber reinforced plastic fuselage aims to produce lower fuel burn and easier maintenance.
Both the 787 and A320 will be shown in two-cabin configurations. Qatar Airways is in the middle of an investment program upgrading its A320s to include a 180-degree lie flat-bed, new 15.4 inch smart monitors and touch-screen remote control handsets, as well as power, USB ports and connectivity for smart devices. The improved aircraft will operate on the Vienna, Tunis, Milan, Rome, Geneva and Maldives routes.