Qatar Airways positions itself as the largest operator of Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, after it welcomed delivery of its 53rd aircraft of the type on the last day of 2020. The airline operates 34 A350-900 and 19 A350-1000 aircraft. 

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continue to invest in our fleet, operating the youngest, most fuel-efficient and technologically advanced aircraft in the skies,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker said. “This strategic investment in sustainable twin-engine aircraft has enabled us to continue flying during the most challenging year in aviation’s history, helping take over 3.1 million people home since the start of the pandemic.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on air travel demand, Qatar Airways has grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s, saying that it was not environmentally justifiable to use oversized, four-engine aircraft. Until travel demand reached “appropriate” levels, Qatar Airways would keep the A380 grounded, the statement outlined.   

Contrary to the Superjumbo, Qatar Airways is fully utilising its fleet of 53 A350 XWB widebodies. The aircraft is flying to more than 45 destinations in the airline’s network, including Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, New York, Paris, São Paulo, and Singapore.

Recently delivered Airbus A350-1000 jet has a layout of 350 to 410 seats, and a range of 16,100 km. In a typical three-class configuration, A350-1000 stands out with larger windows, widest seats of any aircraft in A350 family and advanced air system technology including HEPA filters, which deliver optimal cabin air quality, renewing air every two to three minutes.

The second largest Airbus A350 XWB operator is Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY). The airline has 52 A350s in the fleet and is taking delivery of 53rd A350 XWB in the near future, according to Planespotters.net.

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Fuselage cracks on a Qatar Airways A350 XWB were discovered during painting work. The aircraft will be ferried to Toulouse for repairs.