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Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker with Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and Didier Evrard, Executive Vice -President of A350 XWB program.  Airbus Photo.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker with Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier and Didier Evrard, Executive Vice-President of the A350 XWB program. Airbus Photo.

With an order for 80 Airbus A350s, Qatar Airways is the top customer of the new extra wide body aircraft.

The airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, was in Toulouse, France, this week to witness the production of the airplane.

“I am pleased with what I have seen during my visit,” Al Baker said.

“It gives me every confidence that the program is well on track for our first delivery in 2014.”

The European manufacturer also marked his visit by unveiling the newest A350 flight test aircraft, called MSN4, in Qatar Airways livery. It will soon join the rest of the A350 test fleet.

The A350 in Qatar Airways livery.  Airbus Photo.

The A350 in Qatar Airways livery. Airbus Photo.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said in a release that an A350 will fly to the airline’s home base of Doha on Wednesday for a grand welcome at the new Hamad International Airport.  A test aircrft will also go on display at next week’s Singapore Airshow. 

The A350 features an extra wide cabin with a non-stop flying capability of more than 15,000 kilometres.

It will be built in three versions – A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000. In all, Airbus has received 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.

The A350 is currently at an advanced phase of flight tests and is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Last week, a test aircraft was in Canada’s Arctic city of Iqaluit for cold weather trials.

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