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Airbus A350 XWB makes its inaugural landing at Doha's Hamad International Airport

Qatar Airways welcomed the Airbus A350 XWB as it made its first-ever landing at Qatar’s state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA), before departing for its next stop, the Singapore Airshow. As the launch customer for the family of long-range, two-engined wide-body jet airliners, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, welcomed Didier Evrard, Executive Vice President, Airbus A350 XWB Programme, and Phil Harris, Senior Vice President Customer Business, Rolls Royce, at the special event commemorating the inaugural landing.

Following the welcome notes, a delegation of Qatar’s distinguished officials including H.E. Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Qatar Tourism Authority’s Chairman, H.E. Jean-Christophe Peaucelle, Ambassador of the French Republic to the State of Qatar, H.E. Mrs. Angelikai Storz-Chakarj, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Qatar and H.E. Ms. Maria Del Carmen De Labena, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Qatar, visited the A350 XWB displayed on the HIA tarmac.

The arrival of the A350 XWB to Doha from its Airbus base in Toulouse was a unique opportunity for both Airbus’ flight crew as well as HIA air traffic control and ground officials to experience landing the new mid-sized wide-body jet on HIA’s brand new 4,850-metre eastern runway engineered to meet the requirements of the world’s biggest and most advanced aircraft. HIA’s dual runway system comprises a 4,850-metre eastern runway and a 4,250-metre western runway that are two kilometers apart. Designed for superior runway efficiency, it will be able to handle an incredible 100 aircraft every hour.

Commenting on the occasion, Al Baker said: “This is yet another key milestone in Qatar’s aviation progress. We have been steadily investing in our infrastructure to enable us to stay ahead of the latest developments in the global aviation sector. Hamad International Airport, which was built for advanced aircraft such as the Airbus A350 XWB, is our flagship asset and will soon be the new home of Qatar Airways and our modern fleet of aircraft, including the A350 XWB family.” 

Now in its advanced flight test program phase, the efficient A350 XWB airliners are scheduled to enter into commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2014. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 aircraft to date, leaning towards the larger A350-900 and A350-1000 models, which better suit its business model and passenger requirements.

The A350 XWB is a family of mid-sized wide-body airliners designed to enhance fuel, operating costs and environmental efficiencies during medium-to-long haul airline operations. Featuring the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies, these highly efficient aircraft provide better fuel efficiency of up to 25 percent. Over 70 percent of the A350 XWB’s weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The aircraft’s innovative all-new Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage results in lower fuel burn as well as easier maintenance.

“It was certainly a proud and symbolic occasion for Qatar Airways and our team of air traffic and ground control crew at HIA to experience landing the new A350 at our new airport, as it gave us a unique glimpse into the exciting developments around the corner,” concluded Al Baker.

Representing one third the size of the city of Doha, HIA spans 22 square km, and is one of the most elaborate Greenfield airport projects in the world today. Its state-of-the-art design aims to set a new global standard in commercial aviation. Upon initial opening, it will accommodate up to 24 million passengers, and up to 50 million by 2015. With its dual runway system, it will have the capacity to handle up to 360,000 aircraft annually, approximately 2.5 times more than the current airport.

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