Recently, Flight-report.com had the opportunity to be part of the first ever delivery of an Airbus A350 to launch customer Qatar Airways. The official delivery ceremony took place on December 22nd, 2014 at the Airbus delivery center in Toulouse, France. Here are some pictures from the event.
The Airbus delivery center is set up a lot like an airport terminal. It has a dedicated passenger check-in zone like a normal airport.
There is a cool model of the whole Airbus delivery center.
Out of over 400 invited guests at the ceremony, only 160 members of the press were given the chance to board the very first flight on this brand new Qatar Airways Airbus.
Passengers are given a boarding pass for flight QR3350 with a souvenir ticket jacket marking this special event.
A press conference was held prior to the ceremony with featured speakers Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group; Tony Wood, President of Rolls Royce Aerospace; and Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of Airbus.
It was a full house at the press conference.
Airbus presented Al Baker with a carbon-fiber commemorative trophy during the ceremony. The A350 is the first Airbus to be made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer.
The official ceremony ends in music as the curtains open to reveal the guest of honor. The first A350XWB to be delivered!
The crowd greets the A350 with a standing ovation.
The new Qatar Airways Airbus awaits its passengers.
The press is then invited to board. Prior to boarding there was a security check for all passengers.
Everything was going right on schedule.
However, the boarding process took a little longer than expected.
The Qatar Airways crewmembers warmly greet passengers as they enter the new aircraft on this historic event.
During boarding, every moment is documented by guests of the press from around the world.
The Business class cabin on-board the A350 is equipped with Qatar’s latest generation seat which can also be seen on the airline’s new A380 and B787 fleets.
These “Super Diamond” model seats are manufactured by B/E Aerospace.
The Business class cabin is in a 1-2-1 layout, with each seat having direct access to the aisle—a must in today’s competitive premium cabin market. There are 36 Business class seats on this A350.
The seat in the upright position…
And in bed mode… The full-flat seat is over 2 meters long.
The seat controls are in the side table.
There is a modern touch screen control for the In-flight Entertainment system. A great feature of this control is that you can see the moving map while playing movies on the main IFE screen.
The Business class seats are equipped with large 17” Thales Avant System entertainment screens.
The safety card, Qatar’s Oryx inflight magazine, and a seat guide are located next to each seat.
The Business seats also feature universal power outlets and a USB port.
Aside from the large overhead bins, the seats also feature side storage.
The window shades on the Qatar Airways A350 are electronically controlled in the Business class cabin.
And now for a visit of the Economy class cabin, which is in a comfortable 3-3-3 configuration. There are 247 Economy class seats on this aircraft.
I’ll be in seat 17K for this flight.
The spacious overhead bins pivot similar to 777s.
There was a pillow and bottle of water in each seat.
Economy class seats feature adjustable headrests.
This futuristic aircraft has LCD security signage.
Overhead reading lights and air vents.
The 10.6” Thales IFE screens feature Qatar Airways’ Oryx Entertainment System.
The IFE is on and working from gate to gate.
The A350 is equipped with 3 exterior cameras similar to those on Airbus A380s, but with higher resolution.
The first camera gives a view towards the aircraft’s nose gear.
A second camera gives a high overview of the aircraft from the tail.
And the 3rd camera is situated on the belly of the aircraft giving views of below.
We push back a little later than scheduled next to a Qatar Airways A380.
The safety video is played as the aircraft taxis.
Heading to the runway.
Lining up for a departure on runway 14R.
And then we’re off and climbing to a cruising altitude of 24,000 feet.
The Economy seats have a good amount of recline.
Once the seat belt sign is turned off, we’re free to explore the magnificent cabin.
There is a bar between the two Business cabins decorated with a bouquet of red roses.
And if you hadn’t guessed already, this aircraft features Rolls Royce engines.
Rear view of the Economy cabin.
A pleasant surprise…each passenger is treated to a glass of Krug champagne, the same champagne normally served in First class on Qatar Airways.
The champagne service begins.
Aside from the champagne, the flight attendants offer an assortment of canapés.
Macarons are also offered. First and Business class desserts on Qatar Airways flights out of Doha are by Ladurée.
This short launch flight enters its final phase with a turn back towards Toulouse over the Mediterranean near Perpignan.
Winglet with the Qatar oryx logo.
A350-900 Safety card souvenir.
We are treated to beautiful views of the Pyrénnées as we descend to 12,000 ft.
The awesome moving map.
We begin our final approach to TLS.
Toulouse Blagnac Airport.
The air-brakes are out.
Another gratuitous winglet shot.
And we’re back to the gate.
The Airbus A380 next to us, A7-APD, was delivered to Qatar Airways the next day.
More views of the magnificent Business class cabin as we head towards the cockpit.
The Business class lavatory features RITUALS products.
We are greeted in the cockpit by Airbus Pilot Jean-Michel Roy, who expressed great pride in piloting this revolutionary aircraft.
All good things must come to an end. The ceremony is officially over as we exit the aircraft. Some last views of this beautiful bird.
It was definitely a great experience to be able to take part in this historic event.
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