Posted on December 18, 2014

Qatar Airways, which postponed the delivery ceremonies of the first Airbus A350 XWB aircraft last week, has set a new date of Jan. 7 for ceremonies at its home hub in Doha, said Air Transport Word. Qatar, the launch customer for the A350 widebody, was originally scheduled to receive the first aircraft at Airbus’ delivery center in Toulouse Dec. 13, then hold formal ceremonies at Hamad International Airport today. 

However, the airline suddenly announced last week that the delivery and ceremonies would be delayed. No reason was given for the delay, although ATW understands from sources that there were no issues with the readiness of the aircraft and the postponement centered on disagreements about additional discounts Qatar sought related to the A350’s weight. 

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Qatar then rescheduled the handover in Toulouse to Dec. 22, an event it is adhering to. But the ceremonies in Doha will not take place until Jan. 7, presumably to allow for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Many VIPs and journalists typically attend new aircraft first-delivery ceremonies, but if the Doha event was rescheduled for during the holidays, there would likely have been minimal attendance. The first Airbus A350-900 scheduled flight will be from Doha Hamad International Airport to Frankfurt starting from January 2015. Qatar has 80 A350s on order, split between the baseline A350-900 and the larger -1000 version. The Rolls-Royce-powered A350 will offer a two-class layout, featuring 36 seats in business class and 247 seats in economy class.