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Airbus delivers its latest-creation, the A350, to Qatar Airways

media Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier during the delivering of the A350 plane to … REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Airbus delivered its first next-generation A350 plane to Qatar Airways Monday during a formal ceremony considered as a “historical” event by the European aircraft manufacturer.

The commissioning of this new plane is crucial for Airbus who is aiming to erode the dominance of his rival Boeing in the lucrative market for long-haul, mid-sized aircrafts.

Boeing’s B777 and next-generation 787 Dreamliner which came out in 2011 have been outweighing the European firm’s A330. But Airbus hopes to catch up with its A350, whose wings and fuselage are made of carbon fibre and which will save up to 25 percent in fuel consumption.

Qatar Airways, which is owned by the energy-rich Gulf state, has ordered 80
of the planes showing its ambitions to become one of the world’s major airline companies.

The Doha-based company’s first A350 had been due to be delivered on 13 December in the south-western French city of Toulouse where Airbus is based. But the airline had postponed the handover at the last moment arguing the equipment in the cabin did not correspond to its requirements.

"My dear Akbar, you are a demanding customer, particularly demanding and sometimes even a little too demanding, but you are also one of the architects of the A350. We owe you a lot for this programme," Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier told Qatar Airways head Akbar al-Baker at the ceremony.

The first commercial flight of the Qatari company's new plane will take place on 15 January on the Doha to Frankfurt route.


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