PARIS (AP) – Airbus has at last delivered its first A350 jet, handing over the wide-body plane to Qatar Airways after years of delays and a multibillion-dollar redesign.
The European planemaker hopes the A350 XWB will help it catch up in a long-haul market dominated by rival Boeing’s 777 and 787. Airbus revamped the original A350 design to make it more fuel-efficient and marketable.
Hoping to turn the page on the plane’s difficult beginnings, Airbus delivered the first A350 to Qatar Airways on Monday in a ceremony in Toulouse in southern France.
It is the company’s first new-generation passenger jet since the superjumbo A380.
Qatar is working to transform itself into a major aviation hub as the natural gas-rich Gulf nation prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.