Qatar Airways plans to start airline in India: CEO Akbar Al Baker

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Qatar Airways has plans to launch an airline in India with at least 100 planes, the airlines chief executive Akbar Al Baker said today.

Baker said Qatar Airways, one of the world's major fleet buyers, is not interested in an ultra-long-haul version of the A350-900 being floated by Airbus for carriers like Qantas (QAN.AX) but could buy more of regular A350 jets. It is testament to our continued commitment to the expansion of our national carrier, and to operating the most modern and technologically advanced aircraft available in the skies.

"This remarkable state-of-the-art aircraft will be the first of 42 to be flown on our expanding global route network", Akbar Al Barker, Qatar's CEO, said at a press conference in Toulouse.

The A350-1000 is created to seat 366 people and competes head-to-head with Boeing's profitable 777.

Rolls-Royce Joins Airbus and Qatar Airways to Celebrate Delivery of First A350-1000

The A350-1000 fits seamlessly alongside Qatar Airways' growing fleet, including 20 A350-900s today. With a 7-meter longer fuselage, the space available aboard the A350-1000 for outfitting the premium cabin is 40 percent greater than its smaller sibling, the A350-900, said Airbus in its statement.

But sales of the 777-300ER have picked up, and Boeing is working on plans to leapfrog the A350-1000 with an upgraded 777X boasting over 400 seats. The first aircraft fully-fitted with Qsuite was launched on the Doha-London route last summer on the B777, and was soon followed by service to Paris and NY, with service to Washington, D.C. launched most recently last month.

On board the flight were select VIPs, including Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker; Airbus Vice President Sales Commercial Aircraft, Mr. David Dufrenois; and Rolls Royce Senior Vice President Middle East, Mr. John Kelly, as well as members of the worldwide media.

A7-ANA will be ferried from Toulouse to Doha on Wednesday and will fly its inaugural revenue flight on Saturday's QR15 to London Heathrow. The airline is launch-ing a host of exciting new destinations planned for 2018, including Thessaloniki, Greece and Cardiff, U.K, to name just a few.

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