Qatar Airways selects the A330 and contributes to the launch of the A380

Toulouse27 February 2001

Qatar Airways is becoming a new customer for both the A380 and the A330. Having decided to acquire two of Airbus' all-new very large airliner plus two options, Qatar Airways becomes the ninth customer for the highly successful aircraft. Qatar Airways also selected the A330, having decided to acquire five of the highly successful A330-200 plus three options.

"We have built our airline on providing passengers with the very highest standards of service, and the new A330 and A380, with their unsurpassed cabin comfort, economy and reliability, will help us to remain a leader in this field," says Qatar Airways Chairman His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani. "The Airbus aircraft were the clear winners of our comprehensive evaluation of competing aircraft, "he adds.

Launched in December 2000, the A380 today has won 66 firm commitments from nine customers, plus another 54 options. It is the only firmly launched new programme in its class, and has won every single competition for very large aircraft so far. In addition to offering airlines a way to grow their capacity to meet the doubling of passenger traffic that will occur in the next 15 years, the A380 takes the industry a huge leap forward in passenger comfort, economy and performance, promising to introduce passengers to a new way of flying that will become a benchmark in airline travel.

Both A380s will be delivered in the last quarter of 2007, giving the carrier the increased capacity that it will need by then on its most heavily travelled routes, as well as a 21st Century flagship with which to grow its business and modernise its fleet.

Qatar's selection of the A330-200 further confirms the success of the aircraft in the 250-seater class. Together with the rest of the A330/A340 family, it is a consistent leader in independent passenger surveys. In addition to a cross-section optimised for passenger comfort and cargo carriage, the A330-200 offers unmatched range and economy that is far ahead of its competitors.

A total of 58 customers have placed firm orders for 688 A330/A340 aircraft, which represents many more customers and sales than any other aircraft in the 250-375 seat category.

Deliveries of the A330-200s will begin in April 2002. They will be used to replace A300-600Rs on Qatar Airways' flagship Doha-London route and other services to Europe and Asia, as well as to inaugurate new nonstop services to the Far East. The A330s will seat 235 passengers in a first, business and economy layout.

Qatar Airways has chosen General Electric CF6-80E1 engines to power its A330-200s. It has yet to select engines for its A380s.

"Qatar Airways has rapidly become an airline of standing in the Middle East, and is now poised to consolidate and grow even further, as its decision to expand with the ASSO and A380 shows, "says Airbus Chief Executive Officer Noël Forgeard.

Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of six A320s and seven A300-600Rs on airline services, as well as an Airbus Corporate Jetliner and an A340 on behalf of the Qatar Amiri Flight. It is thus well placed to integrate the A330 and A380 into its fleet, since they share the same basic cockpit, handling qualities and procedures as the A320 and A340.

Airbus is jointly owned by BAe Systems with 20 per cent and by EADS with 80 per cent.

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