Three brand new Airbus A350-1000s delivered to Qatar Airways, but the aircraft didn’t fly straight home

© Bram Botterman


© Bram Botterman

Yesterday evening, Qatar Airways took delivery of three Airbus A350-1000s. The aircraft departed the airport of Toulouse, France destination Doha, Qatar. A rarity in times of a coronavirus pandemic and the first handover of long-haul aircraft to the Middle Eastern carrier for eight months. But there was another catch: these aircraft didn’t fly straight to Doha. Why ? an aircraft lease paperwork thing. 

Zooming into the flight path of A7-ANO, you can see the flight heading north. Qatar Airways is leasing these A350’s and activation of some of the financial structures in the lease requires the aircraft’s presence in United Kingdom airspace.

Around 15 minutes into that airspace seems sufficient to complete all the required forms thanks to the onboard WiFi, all three aircraft (registered A7-ANO, A7-ANQ and A7-ANR) uneventfully continued their journey to Qatar.

Qatar Airways now operates a fleet of 52 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 aircraft (the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market).

Copyright Flightradar24 – data shows the detour of the aircraft before heading to Doha, Qatar

Press release: Qatar Airways Takes Delivery of Three Airbus A350-1000

  • With this delivery, the airline will operate 52 Airbus A350 aircraft, making it the ideal choice for environmentally conscious long-haul passengers
  • Airline’s forward thinking strategic investment in twin-engine, fuel-efficient aircraft has enabled it to continue flying throughout the crisis and perfectly positions the airline to lead the sustainable recovery of global trave
  • Qatar Airways’ young mixed fleet gives it the agility to offer passengers more flexible travel options via the most connected and Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways is excited to announce it has taken delivery today of three more Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, reaffirming its position as the largest operator of Airbus A350 aircraft with 52 in its fleet. All three A350-1000 are fitted with the airline’s multi award-winning Business Class seat, Qsuite and will operate on strategic long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is one of the few global airlines to have never stopped flying throughout this crisis. As one of the only airlines to continue taking delivery of new aircraft at this time, our strategic investment in modern, fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft has enabled us to continue flying taking over 2.3 million people home on more than 37,000 flights since the start of the pandemic. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, we will continue to fly greener and smarter by keeping our fleet of Airbus A380 grounded, as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.

“Environmentally conscious passengers can travel with the reassurance that Qatar Airways continuously monitors the market to assess both passenger and cargo demand to ensure it operates the most efficient aircraft on each route. Rather than being forced to fly oversized aircraft due to limited aircraft options, reducing the flexibility for passengers to travel when they want, Qatar Airways has a variety of sustainable aircraft it can choose from to offer more flights with the right capacity in each market. Passengers can also rely on our airline operate an honest schedule of flights with our mixed fleet giving us the ability to maintain services, and upgrade or downgrade aircraft size depending on passenger demand.”

Passenger travelling on-board Qatar Airways’ state-of-the-art Airbus A350-1000s can enjoy:

  • The widest cabin body of any class with larger windows creating an extra spacious feel
  • The widest seats of any aircraft in its category with generous room in all classes
  • Advanced air system technology including HEPA filters which deliver optimal cabin air quality, renewing air every two-to-three minutes for more comfort and less fatigue
  • LED mood lighting which mimic a natural sunrise and sunset to help reduce the effects of jet lag
  • The quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft that includes a draft-free air circulation system resulting in a low ambient cabin noise level for a more peaceful journey

The airline’s internal benchmark compared the A380 to the A350 on routes from Doha to London, Guangzhou, Frankfurt, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney and New York. On a typical one-way flight, the airline found the A350 aircraft saved a minimum of 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide per block hour compared to the A380. The analysis found that the A380 emitted over 80% more CO2 per block hour than the A350 on each of these routes. In the cases of Melbourne and New York the A380 emitted 95% more CO2 per block hour with the A350 saving around 20 tonnes of CO2 per block hour. Until passenger demand recovers to appropriate levels, Qatar Airways will continue to keep its A380 aircraft grounded, ensuring it only operates commercially and environmentally responsible aircraft.

Environmentally conscious passengers can travel with the reassurance that Qatar Airways continuously monitors the market to assess both passenger and cargo demand to ensure it operates the most efficient aircraft on each route. Rather than being forced to fly oversized aircraft due to limited aircraft options, reducing the flexibility for passengers to travel when they want, Qatar Airways has a variety of sustainable aircraft it can select from to offer more flights with the right capacity in each market. Passengers can also rely on Qatar Airways to operate its scheduled flights with its mixed fleet providing it the agility to maintain services and just upgrade or downgrade aircraft depending on passenger demand.

Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London and New York. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. The airline’s variety of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant it can continue flying by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 52 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points. HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.

To ensure travellers can plan their travel with peace of mind, the airline has generous booking and refund policies. For more information visit qatarairways.com/RelyOnUs.

Bart Noëth: Since 1996, I have been working in the Belgian airline industry, from a weekend job as a cabin aircraft cleaner to a flight attendant. After the demise of Sabena - in 2001, I created a website called www.luchtzak.be, originally a meeting place for plane spotters and aviation freaks. Since 2017, the website changed into a professional news site. Next to aviation, I love to travel, wine and dine and enjoy my time off(-line) with my girlfriend, friends and family. My favourite football squad is KV Mechelen, I am an Ironman 70.3 finisher and my ambition is to complete a full Ironman.
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