QA reveals 'design of the decade' ahead of 2022
The excitement for fans ahead of a major tournament usually begins the moment the airplane touches down at the host nation's airport and the first tournament branding becomes visible. But for many visiting fans in Qatar, the entire flight experience from takeoff to landing will become smoother, more comfortable and more exciting with the presentation of the latest Airbus aircraft in Doha.
The transportation preparations for Qatar's delivery of a successful 2022 FIFA World Cup™ took another step forward when Qatar Airways became the global launch costumer of the next-generation commercial aircraft - the Airbus A350 XWB.
The new aircraft, which was showcased in Doha by Qatar Airways' Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, has an innovative new fuselage design with an extra-wide body. An extra-wide cabin means that sports fans and visitors alike will be able to enjoy their travel to Qatar more comfortably than ever before as soon as they step on the plane.
Speaking at a press conference in Doha, Qatar, Al Baker told the gathered global media that the plane embodied the "design of the decade" and that it was "ahead of its generation", before going on to add that no new commercial aircraft of this caliber or specification would be developed "for the next 10 years at least".
Also speaking at the conference was the Executive Vice President of Airbus, Mr Didier Evrard, who said that the original idea for the aircraft had been proposed by Al Baker over eight years ago, illustrating Qatar's long-standing commitment and determination to innovation. "The story has been one of close cooperation from the beginning", said Evrard, noting that a team from Qatar Airways had been embedded in Airbus' offices in Toulouse and that they had consistently been inputting advice.
In keeping with Qatar's drive towards sustainability as set out in the Qatar National Vision 2030, and in a world-first for Airbus, over 70% of the A350XWB's airframe is made up of advanced materials, with 53% of the weight-efficient airframe being composed of carbon fibre composites and 14% coming from titanium. Additionally, the aircraft's innovative carbon fibre-reinforced plastic fuselage contributes towards a huge 25% reduction in fuel burn compared to previous generations.
Over the next seven years, in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, a fleet rollover programme will be carried out to replace many of the airline's existing aircraft with 80 planes of the new Airbus A350XWB. This means that the new model will be one of the main aircraft used to bring the world to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
The first commercial service will be deployed on the Doha-Frankfurt route on 15 January. Al Baker noted that the models would soon be rolled out to New York, Europe and the Far East - before adding that they would eventually replace all of the carrier's existing Airbus A330 models.