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TOULOUSE, France – The much anticipated delivery of Qatar Airways’ first A380 is one step closer to joining the airline’s fleet, as the aircraft was ferried from Toulouse to Hamburg during a test flight last week.
The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, is one of thirteen on order by Qatar Airways. The airline is set to take delivery of the aircraft in spring 2014.
The aircraft will be fitted in a tri-class configuration with seats in First Class, Business Class and Economy Class. The first route will be to a European destination, with the city to be confirmed at a later date. The airline’s original order of 8 A380 aircraft was made at the Dubai Air Show in January 2004, and then nearly doubled with an order for an additional 5 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in 2010.
Qatar Airways’ future home, the Hamad International Airport, scheduled to open in the beginning of 2014, has been specially designed to cater to the A380, with 6 contact gates designed with specifications required for the super jumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which will be the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two of A380s simultaneously.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the airline is pleased to see the progress being made on their first A380.
“It is thrilling to see the A380 painted in Qatar Airways colours on display during its test flight from Toulouse to Hamburg. We have been awaiting the delivery of our first A380, and are delighted to soon operate passenger services with this fantastic aeroplane.
“Our mission is to provide our passengers the best – whether it is comfort, cuisine, the most expansive route network, or the best connectivity. By introducing the A380 to our ever expanding young and modern fleet, we are keeping to our commitment of ensuring that our passengers have the best possible experience when travelling with Qatar Airways,” he added.
The airline has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 130 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways has so far launched eight destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq) and Chengdu, (China).
Over the next few weeks and months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Ta’if, Saudi Arabia (October 2), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27), and Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014).
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Notes to Editors
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In October 2012, Qatar Airways became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com