European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has delivered the first of its new-generation carbon composite A350 extra-wide-bodied planes to Quatar Airlines as part of the aircraft’s commercial launch.
Airbus, manufacturing its wing structures in the UK, said the jet will set "new standards in terms of passenger comfort, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness".
"The A350 XWB becomes the most modern aircraft in service, developed with our excellence established over 45 years in meeting our customers’ needs,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO.
The carrier, powered by two of Rolls-Royce’s new fuel-efficient Trent XWB engines, is positioned to compete with Boeing’s Dreamliner.
“With the wings and the engines designed and built in Broughton and Filton (Airbus factories), and Derby (Rolls-Royce), this aircraft shows that Britain is leading the world in the leaner, greener aircraft of the future,” said UK Business Secretary Vince Cable.
"The government is committed to backing our world-beating aerospace sector through our industrial strategy, which is why we are investing £2bn jointly with industry over seven years in research and design into the next generation of aircraft."
The aircraft is the first in the Airbus family featuring carbon fibre fuselage and wings. The mid-size long-range jet can carry up to 550 passengers.
In addition to the improved fuel efficiency, the Trent XWB engine, made exclusively for A350 XWB, is also considerably quieter than its predecessors.
By the end of November 2014, Airbus received 778 orders for the A350 XWBs from 41 customers from around the world.
Quatar Airlines is already operating a fleet of the larger A380s and smaller A330s.