Qatar may up-gauge A350-900 to -1000, buy more

Feb. 20, 2018 © Leeham Co., Toulouse: Qatar Airways may up-gauge some of its Airbus A350-900 orders to the larger -1000 and it may buy more A350s for its leasing company, CEO Akbar Al Baker said at the delivery of the airline’s first -1000.

Qatar is the launch customer of the A350 program, including the -900 and -1000.

Departing Airbus preisdent Fabrice Bregier, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker and Rolls-Royce CEO Chris Chorlerton take questions at a press conference during the delivery of the first A350-1000 to the airline.

The first -1000 was legally delivered to Qatar at the end of last year, but handover for scheduled service was delayed until today because of issues with its new QSuite premier business class supplied by Rockwell Collins, he said.

In a wide-ranging press conference, Al Baker also said:

Departing Bregier

  • Delivery of the first -1000 is the “crowning achievement” of Fabrice Bregier, whose last day at Airbus—and as president—is today. Bregier lost a power struggle with CEO Tom Enders, when the Board of Directors declined to name Bregier Enders’ successor;
  • Effusive praise for Bregier, who is credited with shepherding the A350 program through a relatively trouble-free development, following the pain of the A380 production;
  • He’s interested in the 50-passenger Boom SST development and would like to be a launch customer, but until sorts out which company will supply engines, Al Baker will sit tight; and
  • The A350 is the most efficient airplane to replace the Boeing 777-300ER.

Bregier, who at times appeared a bit melancholy, said the wave of 777-300ER retirements will begin about 2022, which will boost demand for the slow-selling -1000. There are only 169 orders after a few airlines swapped the -1000 for the smaller -900 model.

Bregier also said that a stretch of the -1000 may come when there is a new generation of engines.

44 Comments on “Qatar may up-gauge A350-900 to -1000, buy more

  1. Wow, quite a lot going on here. So AAB is courting Airbus in spite of being their nemesis re deliveries of A350 and A320. And there are 12+ Qatari A350s sitting as WIP whilst other carriers are happy to accept their deliveries. So he wants more in spite of cancelling 4?? I think you must have the patience of Job to be able to deal with the dear chap.

    • @ Grubbie

      Was that a sophisticated expression of heartfelt comprehension or an involuntary literary spasm?

      • Note, not in the reply column. I was referring to the capricious Mr Al Baker. Although now that I think about it ,may be this sudden bout of praise might have something to do with the geopolitical factors that required Qatar to make an emergency purchase of Eurofighters.

  2. A few airlines might still kick themselves for going the 779 route. Boeing often rings the bell on seat mile cost but the 35K’s sector cost and range edge maybe be overlooked by some/(many)?

    With AA’s 359 order still in limbo was wondering if the 35K is in play as a possible long term 77W replacement and the 359 as part of a short-medium term 772ER replacement giving the critical mass of a large enough A350 fleet (50?).

  3. GE9X is one generation above the XWB and 777-9 is 15 percent bigger than -1000. Mr Ferpe analysis will give you an ideal of their efficiency. Go back and read it ANTON.

  4. Is this site belongs to AB public relation arm. Why this piece of news and other about AB are getting precedence and the certification of MAX 9 gets none.It is also time to compare performance and reliability of the many NEO in service against the MAX and 350-900 against the 787/9.

    • Wearing an AB cap I actually commented that the MAX9 are underestimated as an 500-2500Nm aircraft, maybe better than the MAX8?

      Unfortunately the MAX9 will most likely not have a big impact on aviation history.

        • @David

          You could be right re the A350 but I think not. I can see the B787 and A350 being the two fundamental platforms in TA for 30 years or at least until there is a step change in design or manufacture.

          The A350 is of importance on the basis that it sits ‘on top’ of the existing B777 playground for the B772 you have the A359 and critically for the B77w you have the A351. So this delivery potentially marks the beginning of the end of the single most successful twin aisle variant, the B777-300ER. That is a pretty big deal don’t you think?

          • Afaics the A350XWB is the technical achievement the 787 wanted to be.
            Only competition today happens more via side channels than anything else.

          • “So this delivery potentially marks the beginning of the end of the single most successful twin aisle variant, the B777-300ER. That is a pretty big deal don’t you think?” – NO. The 777 is ending his useful years as his technology became old. The numbers so far don’t indicate that the 350 will succeed him. Airlines will start to replace this working horse only next decade , and it’s still an open question if they choose the 350 or the 777x.

          • @ David

            Please read what I wrote and take the comment at face value and without ‘side’. I said ‘potentially’ as this is one unclear area to anyone at present.

            I must take you to task regarding you view that the B777-300ER is retiring itself, this is a risible concept as it would not be retired unless and until it is superseded.

            Although I fear from your tone that you have a closed mind to your choice of successor. Having such certainty of vision must be a blessing

      • It look like the 737MAX10 took over the market from the 737MAX9. The 737MAX10 might be the cheapest way to haul pax within its range from suitable runways. We do not know yet if the GE9X is as reliable and successful as the GE90-115B.
        Airlines must make a selection when replacing their 777-300ER’s if the same size A350-1000 or the bigger and heavier 777-9 will be selected, any engine hickup will push the selection in others direction.

        • Giving BA the benefit of the doubt I can see at least 1/2 of 77W replacements going the 779’s way, its more likely an 747 replacement.

          An 38X might just scavenge some of that.

          • David: Its a bit hard to get excited about an aircraft that has been hashed over so many times its not even close to what it started out as.

            Kudos for Boeing engineers making it work, but the 737 should have been replaced two generations ago.

            The A320 is not all that exciting either, but it does have the P&W GTF which is a very topical item of deep future interest for the industry.

            The A350-1000 is cutting edge and indeed news.

            737? Sort of like Ford offering a Model T in Blue.

            And for anyone who actually has followed the site, its not biased A or B.

            Not that anyone who has decided otherwise pays any attention to the facts.

          • Its not relevant to compare cars with airliners. The car manufacturers safety standards for production/development just arent in same league. The constant change was deliberate marketing ploy which hardly ‘improved’ the vehicle at all.
            The 737 may be re hashed- but its in a good way. new wings, new tail , new engines, so that it out preforms the A320, being lighter and longer ranged in the standard model.
            Production is a far cry from the original. Once the fuselage came in two parts from Whicita, excluding centre section and wing box. Now its one long piece which is mostly ‘pre stuffed’ before its put on the flat cars for the 12 day journey. Even the rail travel means the flat cars roll right into the assembly buildings either end, without complicated wheeled jigs which carry onto plane or support structures for the 2 plants supplied by sea. ( The 380 is a special nightmare having road, canal, ship and the reverse once they get to France, only one part is flown in from Cadiz)

          • Airbus had a history of not making the correct mix of size and range, but with the A320-series and A330/A350-900 they got it pretty right. Boeing makes so much Money of the 737 that they do not really want to replace it with an up to date Aircraft. They might think that eventually most Airlines will use the domestic “797-200” to replace their 737’s as their smallest Aircraft and use the “797-300ER” for a 767 replacement for everything below the 787-9 and use a mix of 787-10 and 777-9’s for hub to hub routes. It all depends on how fast and cheap their robots can tape together the 797 fuselage and its wings and most likely choose an out of autoclave baking process like used on the BMW i3’s and Shorts does in Belfast. We will see if they use Embraer for a new NSA narrowbody and Boeing just do the widebody aircrafts.

          • @dukeofurl
            “so that it out preforms the A320, being lighter and longer ranged in the standard model.”

            the 737-800 is not lighter than the A320, and the 737-max8 is not lighter than the A320 NEO

            The 737-800 has a shorter range than the A320, and the 737-Max8 has a slightly longer range than the A320NEO (the difference is a lot smaller than the difference between the 737-800 and the A320).

          • Was wondering if the technical guys here could give an indication what an 321″LR” with 97T MTOW with 2 aux tanks and 180 pax will be?

          • very much over the thumb:
            ~.5t less oew.
            24.5 t payload out to 3300m ?
            .6t payload derate per 100nm further out
            double that after 4600nm ( tanks maxed out )

          • Thanks Uwe,

            My personal view as that airlines actually needs a twin aisle with 240 seats and a comfortable 4500Nm range, 45 Klb engines most likely enough?

            The danger of the NMA is that the OEM wants to cover this and a stretch with one wing, rather optimize/perfect a champion model than build in stretch and other tolerances.

          • Duke:

            All data says the two aircraft are equal economics.

            The bit lighter is negated by a bit less good funereal and a compromised engines join to wing to get the larger engine to fit on the low gear 737.

            And each one costs a lot more to update than a slightly modified A320NEO .

            And it can’t begin to match an A321.

    • Well there you go.A rather boring if reliable derivative gets it’s paperwork sorted out vs all hell breaking out.Which is more interesting?

      • I vote for interesting and the future!

        And I did indeed love the 737, its been a great aircraft (rudder issues aside) but its day is long gone.

        Its taken a licking and kept on ticking so you have to sort of admire that.

        I admire knowing when its time to make a change.

        • Boeing did not want to do the MAX. The 320NEO sort of forced their hand. But you can’t say it hasn’t been sucessful.
          Just like Airbus did not plan on the A350 in it’s present form. Their original idea was the 330NEO.
          But the lack of enthusiasm from Udvar and others forced them in this case to follow Boeing’s 787 more or less. And you can’t say it hasn’t been successful as well

          • Don’t forget their biggest US customer Southwest. They put the kibosh on the old “NSA Ver 1” in favor of the 737NG, and I don’t doubt their influence on Boeing’s decision on the MAX.

          • Rich, surely you are mistaken! The neo was a belated response to the NG and the MAX is in a class of its own. I read this in the Boeing promo blurb

          • @sowerbob
            The NEO was a response to the CSeries.
            This round (CS, NEO, MAX, E2) all started with the CSeries.

          • CSeries was said to primarily endanger the A320. ( nice try, on what grounds?)

            IMU it would have presented more marginalization to the 737 already heavily pimped ( winglets ) except for engines.
            Cue: Boeings NSA offer ( that was just around the corner via timewarp. )
            The “timewarp” bluff was called by Airbus via offering the NEO at rather low cost to themselves.

            Intermediary treat: distinct improvements via better wingtip devices.

        • @ Julian

          I was being sarcastic by paraphrasing the launch of the MAX, the lowest form of wit I know but I enjoy it

  5. This seems to imply that April thru May will be anti-Airbus AAB months. June thru July look good tho.

    I don’t know if El Niño weather patterns could impact the forecast tho.

  6. The airbus website ‘infogram’ for the qatar a350 has both the 900 & 1000 @ 8000nm range. That’s an improvement for the -1000 isn’t it? With the same or very similar ranges the -1000 may become as popular as the -900… 44more seats on Qatar floorplan for (I assume) a similar trip cost?

  7. Interesting to see how the market views the B7double7 900 vs the A350 1000?

    OEW points to a 10% advantage to the A350.
    MTOW certainly has a 10% advantage to the A350.

    All for three rows of seats — less than 5% increase in cabin length.
    Even the published numbers of 414 seats in a two class layout have 35 of these seats down to the sardine nature of the economy offer.

    Surely 17.2” wide seats is not up to modern scheduled airways doing long haul? Interesting that 16.8” was considered too narrow but 17 point anything was OK.

    Not sure what happens next?
    The LR / HD TA market looks a bit out of breath.
    All the energy seems to have been sucked out the market.

    The 7double7 NG is a very focused offering at the moment.
    Plus the A350 seems to be in delivery mode not inspiration mode.
    And then you have all the chatter over the coming MoM’ster.

    Come in Mr 929 — you are next years news.

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