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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, May 28, 2018

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Qatar Airways to receive new A350 this week as Airbus battles Boeing

The first delivery in an 80-plane order

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DOHA, Qatar - Qatar Airways will receive the newest plane from Airbus, the A350 airliner, this coming Saturday, the first delivery in an 80-plane order.

The Gulf carrier will be the first airline to receive Airbus' new wide-body long-haul jet, which is built with a carbon composite fuselage and wingtips, making it a direct competitor to Boeing's composite 787 Dreamliner.

Qatar Airways says it will first deploy the jet for commercial service on the Frankfurt route from January 2015.

The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, in combination with Airbus' more fuel-efficient 'neo' engines, it is expected to rival the 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 777 in terms of fuel efficiency and operational costs.

The A350 will be able to carry 250 to 350 passengers in a typical three-class seating layout, or a maximum of 440 to 550 passengers for one-class budget carriers.

Positioned as a successor to the A330 and A340, the A350 is part of a long-term plan by Airbus to revamp its model offerings to meet airlines' need for greater efficiency.

While the A350 is a new model, the European plane maker has competed with Boeing by revamping its existing catalogue instead of developing new and expensive models like the 787 Dreamliner.

By tweaking fuselages and wing designs for greater aerodynamics and installing newer more efficient engines, Airbus have created the 'neo' range of their existing models for airlines seeking greater efficiency.

The A350 was originally conceived in 2004 with new aerodynamics and engines while having a fuselage based on the A330, but that configuration was rejected by big-ticket customers such as Qatar Airways.

In 2006, Airbus redesigned the aircraft and renamed it the A350 XWB (extra wide body) and it was more popularly received.

Airbus hit a milestone in customer demand for its airliners this year, racking up an order backlog of more than 6,000 for the first time. A figure which the company says is an industry record.

The figure bolsters Airbus in its ongoing battle with rival Boeing for dominance of the civil aerospace market. The US aircraft manufacturer has an order backlog of 5,703 aircraft, but has made more deliveries.

Airbus took 248 orders during November and delivered 61 aircraft, taking its year to date orders to 1,031 including cancellations, with 554 jets handed over to customers.

Boeing has the upper hand when it comes to both orders and deliveries, with 1,274 orders when adjusted for cancellations and 647 planes delivered to airlines in the year to date.

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