Qatar Airways has postponed the delivery of the first production Airbus A350-900, a ceremony for which Airbus had arranged to happen at its Toulouse, France final assembly plant on Saturday. Qatar Airways schedules called for the airplane to enter service on a route between Doha and Frankfurt on January 15, but the delay—the reason for which neither Airbus nor Qatar has yet disclosed—now places those plans into question.
“The Airbus A350 XWB ceremonial ‘transfer of title’ has been postponed and we are working very closely with Qatar Airways to meet our common goal to deliver their first A350 XWB very soon,” said Airbus in a statement.
The A350-900 gained European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification on September 30 and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval on November 12. The respective awards came after a fleet of five test aircraft accumulated more than 2,600 flight-test hours since first flight on June 14 of last year. The family of aircraft, which also includes the A350-1000 and A350-800, had drawn firm orders for 778 airplanes from 41 customers by the end of November.
Qatar Airways delayed delivery of its first three Airbus A380s from June to October due to what airline CEO Akbar al Baker called attempts by Airbus to take “short cuts” in the final preparation of the airplanes’ cabins. Al Baker claimed the delay cost the airline more than $200 million in revenues.