QATAR Airways has taken delivery of its first A330-300, the latest long-haul aircraft to join its growing fleet of all-Airbus planes.
The new aircraft will mainly operate on key European routes from Doha such as London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt.
Qatar Airways has become the newest customer of the A330-300 aircraft, fresh off the production line. The airline is the only operator of the A330-300 in the Middle East and flies the largest all-Airbus fleet in the region. The aircraft is the first of 14 A330-300s to be delivered to Qatar Airways by April 2008.
Eleven A330-300s are on firm order and three on option. “This aircraft, and indeed, the family of Airbus planes that Qatar Airways operates, enable us to fly with low maintenance costs, high fuel efficiency and ultimately offer passengers the most comfortable cabin,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard congratulated Akbar Al Baker for the new move at a presentation ceremony held at Airbus’ headquarters in the French city of Toulouse. Al Baker later led a Qatar Airways delegation and members of the media on the new aircraft flying to Doha before its entry into commercial service, primarily on European routes.
The A330-300 features 259 seats configured in three classes – 12 First, 24 Business and 223 Economy – and offers at least 10 per cent more seats than Qatar Airways’ biggest existing three-class capacity aircraft, the A330-200. The latest acquisition takes Qatar Airways’ all-Airbus fleet to 36 aircraft, which also comprises the A330-200s, A300-600Rs, A321-200s, A320-200s and A319s.
Al Baker said the A330-300 was an aircraft that would cater for growing demand on three-class routes, mainly between Doha and Europe. “Qatar Airways is proud to be continuing a longstanding relationship with Airbus, our preferred supplier. By operating an all-Airbus fleet, we ensure commonality benefits that the entire fleet will bring us in both cost savings and operational flexibility,” Al Baker added.
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