Qatar Airways will fly its new Airbus A350 to Perth in early 2015 as one of the launch routes for the next-generation jetliner, according to airline CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Speaking at a press conference at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai last week, Al Baker said that the current daily Perth-Doha Boeing 777 service would be upgraded to the new Airbus A350 "in early 2015, I hope."
Al Baker said that Perth was chosen both for being an "ultra long-haul route" from Qatar's Doha hub as well as for its importance as Australia's "mineral resources capital."
"Perth will not be the launch route for the A350 but it will be one of the first ultra long-haul routes that we will operate" he added.
Qatar previously intended to run a Boeing 787 Dreamliner onto the Perth-Doha route from 1/February/2013, but cancelled those plans just 2 weeks shy of the launch when the Boeing 787 was grounded around the world.
However, Al Baker admitted that the long Perth-Doha flight would have been towards the edge of the operating range of the early model Boeing 787-8s which were ordered without the necessary crew rest.
By comparison, he said, the flight "can comfortably be flown by an Airbus A350 which is designed for these ultra long-haul routes."