KUWAIT CITY, Nov 7: Kuwait Airways hosted the Airbus A350 XWBat the Amiri Airport on Thursday morning, a precursor to the tenaircrafts ordered by KAC that will join its upgraded fleet, starting 2020. The special event was attended by popular political and diplomatic personalities, representatives from Airbus, and media.
The A350 XWB is a new generation, extra wide body jetliner, made from advanced composite materials and powered by two new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines to deliver an operating range of 7600 nautical miles.
Rasha Al-Roumi, Chairman and Managing Director of KAC stated, “This event is a crossroad not only in the history of our Corporation but in the industry of air transportation in Kuwait in general. This is the first time ever for the Airbus A350 XWB to land in Kuwait. KAC set a long-term strategy of strengthening its leading position between the air carriers in the region and the world. This was behind signing this contract, aiming to inform the Kuwaiti society about this new type of airplane that will join the fleet of KAC”.
“On this occasion we should thank the Airbus, this international company that have carried millions of passengers around the world onboard of its aircrafts since it was established. We thank them for their cooperation with the KAC and this partnership, which is based on their trust in our services and reputation. Airbus is a leader of the best aircrafts in the world, as well as KAC is among the leaders of the airline companies in the region and the world,” she remarked.
Al-Roumi in formed that KAC made great improvements in its fleet focusing on safety and security, in addition to providing high quality maintenance due to its team of best technicians and trained service staff. “With announcing the joining of 25 new Airbus planes to our fleet, we open new bright page in the history of Kuwait Airways that appreciates the trust of its clients.”
Fouad Attar, Managing Director, Airbus Middle East, stated “Today, we feel very much honored to bring the A350 XWB to Kuwait and give aviation experts a preview of Kuwait Airways’ future fleet. Kuwait is one of the most important markets in the region, and we are proud to present our aircrafts to KAC, our strategic partner, which will be our best representative. We are proud to hold this experimental tour in the sky of Kuwait”.
Commenting on the new aircraft he stated, “The A350XWB stands out in its class thanks to its combination of passenger comfort and state of the art technological innovation. What you will experience today is a new dimension of air travel experience”.
Alan Pardoe, Head of Marketing Communications for Airbus, delivered a presentation to invited media, highlighting core features of the A350 XWB. “The foremost concern of airlines is operational efficiency. Airbus invests large amounts of money in building new airplanes to enable airlines such as Kuwait Airways to enjoy very substantial economic benefits with a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption than current long range airplanes.”
He informed that there are two models of the A350 XWB, the A350-900 that is being built in Toulouse at present and the A350-1000, a higher capacity aircraft still in development that will fly next year. “The airplane is built in Toulouse, in Southwest France at a brand new state of the art facility that allows us to produce airplanes of the highest quality and as many as ten each and every month until 2018”, he remarked.
783 orders for the A350 XWB have been received from 41 countries so far and Pardoe expects the number to grow. Until now, ten deliveries have been made with six to Qatar Airways, three to Vietnam Airlines and one to Finnair. “These deliveries are continuing and becoming more rapid and more numerous. Soon, the A350 will be seen in the skies around the world”, he said.
Pardoe drew attention to the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine, which outperforms competitors in terms of fuel economy, emissions and overall efficiency. He also underscored the all-new fuselage built with carbon-fibre reinforce plastic (CFRP) that supports lower fuel burn, easier maintenance and increased resistance to corrosion. Additionally, the jetliner’s wings are more efficient, quieter, and tailored for maximum aerodynamic efficiency in the various phases of flight.
Pardoe explained that to get the A350 XWB into commercial service, rigorous flight tests were performed. “We used 5 flight test airplanes that collectively performed more than 2500 hours of arduous testing to ensure that the airplane is not just efficient but also mature and reliable in its service to airlines and their customers.”
On tour of the aircraft, he drew attention to the flight deck that not only boasts capabilities of advanced navigational precision but also ease of flying with improved flight deck dimensions, built around an arrangement of identical, interchangeable large displays.
The Airbus A350 XWB MSN 2 aircraft visiting Kuwait is fitted with a two class cabin layout with 42 lie-flat business class seats in a four abreast configuration and 210 economy-class 18 inch wide seats set at nine abreast. The aircraft is also fitted with special on-board flight test equipment.
Kuwait Airways signed a contract with Airbus to purchase 25 new airplanes; 10 Airbus A350 XWB and 15 Neo A320, which will join the KAC’s fleet in 2020.Speaking to the Arab Times, Kamil Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer at KAC, enumerated the airline’s fleet renewal strategy, “We’ve had seven new A320s in our fleet. We have ordered 5 new A330s, the fourth of which arrived this week and the last is expected to arrive by the end of this month. We are looking at 10 Boeing 777s that start arriving from November next year and will be complete within a span of 8 months. We will then start receiving a combination of A320s and A350s upto the year 2022.”
He shared that most of the old fleet had been retired, the few that were still in operation are being phased out as upgrades arrive. KAC is also in the process of reviewing its routes structure, “The study is being done by commercial department right now. This might include adding, reducing, strengthening routesor increasing frequencies.”
He shared that all aircrafts in its upgraded fleet will help reduce ground time. “Good scheduling will help us to have fast turn arounds, optimise utilisation of the aircrafts. We want to keep the aircrafts flying and on ground as minimum. The new aircrafts give us that ability, they are more reliable and they are designed to turn around a lot faster.”
When asked if the Kuwait airport is expanding enough to cope with increasing traffic, he remarked, “Kuwait has tried quite hard to produce the next massive airport to cope with the current increase of about 7 percent traffic per annum. They are moving in the right direction. It has taken more time than airlines would like. But there is now an urgency for the airport to be built at a quicker pace, the airport plan is adequate to handle growth in the next five years.”
The event was accompanied with a gathering at the Marina Crescent where huge audience were able to watch the Airbus A350 XWB flying in the sky of Kuwait.
By Cinatra Fernandes
Arab Times Staff