Qatar Airways has signed a firm contract with Airbus for two A380s and two options, as well as for two A340-600s and options on a further eight. The orders are estimated to be worth up to $3 billion.
Deliveries of the Airbus A340-600s will begin in June 2006, and those of the A380s in early 2009.
Both aircraft will feature three-class layouts, the A340-600 seating 325 passengers, and the A380s 460. Qatar Airways will introduce the 376 tonne maximum take-off weight version of the A340-600, which will be powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines. The choice of engines to power the A380s will be made later.
”We see a need for the A340-600 on our medium to high-capacity long-haul routes, as well as for the larger A380 on our most heavily travelled services,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker. ”And we look forward to the commonality benefits that our all-Airbus fleet will bring us in both cost savings and operational flexibility.”
Qatar Airways is said to operate the largest all-Airbus fleet in the Middle East, which currently comprises mainly Airbus A330s and A320 family aircraft. It will become the first carrier in the region to take delivery of the Airbus A330-300 in September 2004.