The State of Qatar’s national airline, Qatar Airways, has selected the Airbus A320neo as its reference aircraft for expanding the carrier’s short-to-medium-haul fleet and has increased its order for the A380.
Qatar Airways signed a firm order on November 15 at the Dubai Airshow 2011 for 50 A320neo-family jets and five additional Airbus A380 super-jumbos.
Reports from the Dubai Airshow indicate that Qatar Airways has also optioned another 30 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft and three additional A380s.
Airbus’ new A320neo family incorporates new engines and large “Sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver 15 per cent in fuel savings compared with existing Airbus A320-family aircraft. According to Airbus, this represents some 3,600 tonnes less CO2 per aircraft per year.
“The A320neo promises to be a great aircraft which is why we have chosen it to form the backbone of our future single aisle expansion,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO. “Together with our increase in A380s and our orders for [the] A350 XWB, we are continuing investing in an integrated family of the world’s most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft.”
“Qatar Airways supported the development of the Airbus A320neo very early on,” noted John Leahy Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers. “It is with great pride that we are announcing this large order today including an additional five A380s.”
Before the November 15 order, Qatar Airways had ordered a total of 43 A320-family aircraft directly from Airbus and, including leased aircraft, now has 38 in its fleet. The last four of Qatar Airways’ perviously ordered A320s will be provisioned for “Sharklets” following a recently signed agreement.
Qatar Airways’ total A380 order increases to 10 aircraft following its initial order for two made in 2003, which was later raised to five in 2007. Qatar Airways’ current in-service fleet also includes the region’s largest number of Airbus A330s, the carrier operating 16 A330-200s and 13 A330-300s.
According to Airbus, the A320neo reduces fuel burn by 15 per cent compared with existing A320-family jets, which is equivalent to 1.4 million liters of fuel annually – the consumption of 1,000 mid size cars.
Airbus says this saves 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year, the amount of CO2 absorbed by 240,000 mature trees. The A320neo family also has a considerably smaller noise footprint compared with existing A320-family aircraft.
Sales of the A320neo family have reached almost 1,500 orders and commitments in under a year, making it the fastest-selling commercial jetever.
Typically seating 525 passengers in a three-class layout, the Airbus A380 is capable of flying 8,300 nautical miles (15,300 kilometers) non-stop, enabling direct service from Qatar to New York.
As of November 15, total firm orders for the A380 stand at more than 240 from 18 customers.