Qatar Interested in Even Larger A350 as Airlines Boost Jet Sizes

Qatar Airways Ltd. said it would consider buying an even larger version of the Airbus SAS A350 wide-body jet than currently on offer, as the No. 2 Middle Eastern airline tilts its fleet toward bigger aircraft.

The Doha-based carrier would be interested in a variant that stretches beyond the A350-1000, the largest of the three-member family of A350s for sale, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told journalists today in Dubai at the biennial air show. Qatar may also switch from some of its mid-sized A350-900 models into the larger type, he said.

“If they extend the size and stretch the airplane, Qatar Airways will be very interested in placing additional orders,” Al Baker said after announcing a purchase of A330 freighters.

Qatar, the launch customer for the A350, has already dropped orders for 20 of the smallest versions for larger ones. Al Baker, an early critic of the program, said today he was impressed with the progress that Airbus has made in the last two years on the A350, which performed its maiden flight in 2013.

Airbus has said it’s not currently working on an even larger version of its A350, while maintaining that it would be technically possible. The A350-1000 is aimed at taking business from Boeing Co.’s popular 777, whose upgraded 777X model became the bestseller on the first day of the Dubai Air show, including 50 orders from Qatar. The smaller A350 models compete with the 787 Dreamliner.

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