Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Mon June 01 2015

Qatar Airways Makes Pick For First A350 XWB Flight to US

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 01, 2015

Qatar Airways Makes Pick For First A350 XWB Flight to US

Aviation enthusiasts were thrilled last December when Qatar Airways took delivery of the new Airbus A350 XWB, the first of 80 such planes the airline put on order from the French manufacturing company.

Now they’ll be happy to know that Qatar has decided to fly the new plane to the U.S., announcing this morning that Philadelphia will be the first destination it will fly to in America using the state-of-the-art aircraft.

Qatar already has daily service to Philadelphia International but will begin using the A350 starting Jan. 1, 2016. The date will coincide with the launch of services to Los Angeles, one of three new Qatar Airways destinations in the U.S. for 2016.

In a statement, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We are very pleased to announce the launch of our first A350 service to the United States. Philadelphia is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the USA and is an important international business hub that is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. With the launch of the new A350 service from Jan. 1 next year, Qatar Airways will be further strengthening its position in Philadelphia and the U.S. overall as an airline offering passengers a world-class travel experience.”

The A350 will fly on one daily flight to New York starting March 1 and one to Boston starting March 16, meaning three of Qatar Airways’ U.S. destinations will all be served by the A350.

The XWB designation, by the way, means "extra wide body."

The introduction of the A350 on the daily flights between Doha and Philadelphia brings an additional capacity of more than 9 percent compared to the Boeing 777-200LR which is being operated on the current route. Qatar Airways’ daily capacity to Philadelphia will grow from 259 seats on the B777-200LR to 283 seats on the A350 aircraft.

Qatar Airways’ A350s feature 36 seats in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring 80-inch fully flat horizontal beds, and a 247 seating capacity in Economy Class in a 3-3-3 layout. All seats in Business Class have direct aisle access with 17-inch HD in-flight entertainment screens.

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