MUMBAI: The much anticipated delivery of Qatar Airways’ first A380-1000 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 A380-1000 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).