Philadelphia Will Become First A350 Destination in the U.S.
Qatar Airways announced today that the brand-new Airbus A350-900XWB will replace the Boeing 777-200LR on flights between Doha, Qatar and Philadelphia from January 1st of next year. This will be the aircraft's first scheduled commercial flight to the United States and comes at the same time that Qatar begins their rapid expansion into the US with new flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta as well as a second daily flight to New York City. The launch of those new services will take place between January and July of next year. Philadelphia was a fairly surprising choice to receive the first A350, as Qatar Airways also serves cities like Chicago and Washington, DC. However, Philadelphia is now a major international OneWorld hub now that U.S. Airways' merger with American Airlines is nearly complete. Qatar joined the alliance in 2013. This means customers will be able to fly from hundreds of destinations across Asia, Africa and the Middle East to just as many airports in North America and beyond on a single ticket, with the majority of the travel being on the most state-of-the-art aircraft in the skies. The A350 features 283 seats with with 36 in the fully lie-flat Business Class and 247 in economy. Every passenger (including economy) will have access to Oryx One, one of the best In Flight Entertainment systems out there. Qatar currently flies the A350 to Frankfurt, Munich and Singapore. The aircraft will also operate the new flights to Boston as well as the additional frequencies to New York City. Qatar has ordered a total of 80 A350 aircraft and has taken delivery of 3 of the type so far. Although this will be the first A350 to fly to the United States, the aircraft will be commonplace in the U.S. in just a few years. All three major U.S. carriers have placed orders for the type. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines will each take delivery of their first aircraft in 2016. They have ordered 22 and 25 of the A350-900XWB variant, respectively. United Airlines opted for 35 of the larger A350-1000 and will receive their first aircraft in 2018. Other notable A350 customers include Air France-KLM, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, JAL, Lufthansa, Singapore, and several others.