Qatar Airways has lifted the veil on its first Airbus A350 dressed in full livery, ahead of the next-generation jet's debut towards the end of this year.
The Gulf airline, which is the prized global launch customer for the A350, has ordered 80 of the twin-aisle jets and already tipped Doha to Perth as an early route for 2015.
In addition to ordering 43 of the mid-sized A350-900, Qatar has also signed up for 37 of the stretched A350-1000, which has room for 350 passengers in a three-class cabin and will enter service in mid-2017.
Qatar's colours previously adorned one of the A350 test aircraft as a special 'launch customer' livery.
While Qatar will be first to fly the Airbus A350, several other airlines will be quick to follow.
South America's LATAM Airlines Group, comprising Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM, has already revealed its A350 cabin and seating designs, including front-facing business class seats (in a 2-2-2 layout) which convert to fully lie-flat beds.
Finnair's Airbus A350 fleet, which will begin flying in the second half of 2015 to Asia, will sport the popular Zodiac Cirrus seat – best known as the business class seat of Cathay Pacific, and also used by American Airlines and Air France.
We've even caught a sneak peek at what could be British Airways' next generation of Club World business class seats for the Airbus A350 and potentially other members of the BA fleet.
Patent applications filed by the airline and renowned design firm PriestmanGoode reveals a herringbone-style layout which gives each passenger direct aisle access plus an oversized seat that's closer to a one-person couch.
In fact, BA's mock-up artwork calls it a sofa rather than a seat, and we wouldn't be surprised if the final product – should this design come to fruition – was marketed as the Club World Suite.
One A350 airline which is keeping its power dry is Cathay Pacific, although we do know that CX will launch all-new seat designs for its Airbus A350 fleet, with Porsche Design Group crafting new business class seats codenamed ‘FB3’.
Also on the roster is London-based Tangerine, perhaps best known as the former home of Apple design guru Jony Ive, which is responsible for Cathay's new economy seats plus a ‘tip to tail’ brief to design the cabin interiors for all three classes on the Airbus A350.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.