Airlines & aviation
Qatar Airways has become the first customer of the brand new Airbus A350-1000, an aircraft hailed as a game-changer for long-haul travel.
The carrier has 42 A350-1000s on order, the first of which will go into service on its Doha-London route this month.
The 74m-long aircraft offers passengers "the quietest twin-aisle cabin in the skies", according to Airbus, as well as advanced air-con and full LED mood lighting.
As a long-range, twin-jet, wide-bodied aircraft, Airbus's A350 series competes with and is often compared to Boeing's 787 Dreamliners.
It retains the distinctive, curving wingtips of the A350-900, but the A350-1000 is 23-feet longer with 4pc larger wings and an all-new, six-wheel main landing gear.
Like the A350-900, over 70pc of its lightweight airframe is made from advanced composites, titanium and aluminum alloys. A carbon fibre reinforced plastic fuselage results in lower fuel burn, Airbus says, as well as easier maintenance.
The plane is powered by two Rolls Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, new additions offering a take-off thrust capability of 97,000lbs per engine, lower approach speeds and savings of around €2.4 million per aircraft per year on fuel, according to Qatar.
They are "the world's most efficient large aero engines," it adds.
Qatar flies daily from Dublin to Doha, a service it launched with an A350-900 (see video above) but operates with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus lists the A350-1000's range at 14,750km, slightly longer than Boeing's listing for the 63m long 787-9 Dreamliner, at 14,140km.
The A350-1000 is the first Airbus aircraft to be fitted with Qatar's Qsuites - business class suites that can be sealed off with their own doors.
QSuites boast 80-inch fully flat beds, mood lighting and both aft and forward-facing seats, allowing colleagues to work or groups to socialise.
The suites follow similar 'private' in-flight accommodations like Singapore Airlines' A380 First Class suites, Etihad's three-room 'Residence' and Emirates' new private suites, featuring 40-square-feet of space inspired by Mercedes Benz.
Qatar's middle Qsuites can also convert to six double beds.