Qatar Airways leading the way - CEO

(File)
(File)
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Doha - Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al-Baker boasted on Wednesday that European carriers "cannot keep up" with competition from Gulf carriers as his fast-growing airline welcomed the first Airbus A350.

Doha-based Qatar Airways, along with Dubai's Emirates and Abu Dhabi's Etihad are "the fastest growing carriers," said Baker.

"This is why we're creating a lot of concern for the European airlines who cannot keep up. We in the Gulf are leading the aviation industry today," he said.

Major hubs

Qatar Airways on Wednesday revealed the world's first Airbus A350 XWB commercial jet, little more than a week before the plane makes its maiden flight - from Doha to Frankfurt.

Baker pledged to expand the service soon to other European cities and New York.

The three Gulf carriers have snatched a sizable share of the long-haul travel sector, turning their home cities into major hubs on routes to Asia and Australasia.

They are major clients of aircraft manufacturers, with extensive lists of orders from Boeing and Airbus.

In November, Baker took a swipe at legacy carriers, accusing them of being "inefficient" and protected by EU policies.

The A350 XWB (extra wide body) is the newest model to roll off the European jet maker's production line and is the first entirely new plane to be showcased by one of the world's two biggest aircraft makers since Boeing unveiled its "Dreamliner" four years ago.

Bought 80 planes

Its makers claim the plane's design is revolutionary, because of its fuel efficiency and relative quietness, and will be the last completely new commercial airliner developed over the next two decades.

Qatar Airways, which will be the only airline to fly A350s for the foreseeable future, has bought 80 of the planes and Baker said he expected "aircraft number eight" would be the one used for the New York route.

All 80 planes will have been received by Qatar Airways by the 2020s.

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