Airbus signs Qatar order for 80 A350 planes

EUROPEAN planemaker Airbus signed a deal with Qatar Airways for 80 A350XWB aircraft with a total list price of $16 billion.

The order replaces a 2005 agreement for 60 planes.
A memorandum of understanding was signed at the Elysee palace in the presence of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
The aircraft include 20 A350-800, 40 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000. Deliveries will begin from 2013.
“The A350XWB will equip Qatar Airways with the very latest generation and most modern fleet,” Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al-Baker said in a statement.
Airbus president and chief executive officer Louis Gallois, also co-chief executive at parent group EADS, told Reuters the order was unrelated to a possible decision by Qatar to take a stake in EADS. He denied newspaper reports that clients were asking for changes to the A350 plane.
“Nobody asked us to change the plane which will be made of composite materials for a little bit more than 50 percent,” he said.
Qatar Airways is the largest all-Airbus operator in the Middle East and is also a customer for the A380 superjumbo which has hit delivery delays. Qatar had indicated it wanted compensation from Airbus for the delay in the A380, for which it had two firm orders and two options.