Qatar Airways expects delivery of Airbus A350s from 2014
Doha (AFP) – Qatar Airways expects to receive delivery of the Airbus A350 from 2014, CEO Ali Akbar al-Baker said Tuesday at an event marking the airline joining the Oneworld airline grouping.
“We are confident that airbus will deliver to us the A350 by the second half of 2014,’’ said Baker, whose airline is one of the main clients of the new lightweight, long-haul aircraft.
Baker also said Qatar Airways planned to order more A350s for its fleet at the Dubai Airshow in November, but said the company will announce it then.
Airbus’ program director for the new plane, Didier Evrard, confirmed Qatar Airways would receive the company’s first A350s “between October and December’’ of next year, considering any modifications that might be needed.
Airbus and its parent company EADS have repeatedly said the new airliner will be ready for service before the end of 2014, one year later than initially planned.
Baker was speaking at an event in Doha on Tuesday to announce Qatar Airways has become a full member of the Oneworld airline grouping, becoming the only major Gulf carrier to join a global alliance.
“From its first flights tomorrow (Wednesday) morning … Qatar Airways will be offering Oneworld’s full range of services and benefits,’’ the airline said Tuesday.
Qatar Airways is the second Middle Eastern carrier – after Royal Jordanian – to join the alliance founded in 1998 by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
“Becoming a member of Oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways’ history,’’ said Baker.
“It will strengthen our competitive offering.’’
Oneworld is one of three major airline groupings, alongside Star Alliance and SkyTeam.
The carrier serves more than 130 destinations in 70 countries. It has a fleet of 130 aircraft and has orders and options for more than 250 new planes in the next few years.
Wealthy gas producer Qatar has made huge investments in infrastructure to establish itself as an international hub before it hosts the football World Cup in 2022.