The first Airbus A350 flown by a commercial carrier arrived in the USA today, though it is one step short of true commercial service. Qatar Airways brought one of its A350s in to New York City’s JFK airport on Tuesday afternoon in advance of a Wednesday press conference featuring its Global CEO Akbar Al Baker with a “special announcement” of some sort.
Calling it true commercial service is not quite right as the flight was an extra section operated only with company employees on board rather than being for sale to the public. And JFK is not likely to see the aircraft again for a few months yet; the A350 will be used hen Qatar Airways adds a second daily service between JFK and Doha in April 2016.
Philadelphia will see regular A350 service starting in January and Boston will see the type in mid-March. Qatar Airways also flies the A350 to Frankfurt, Munich and Singapore.
My hopes for some more photos up close and personal with the plane (i.e. out on the apron) were dashed when we found out that the plane needed to vacate the gate ASAP for regular scheduled service, but it was still fun to get to see it much closer to home.
It was also interesting to see five different oneworld carriers in a single panorama view at JFK. I know that is far from a full collection but Air Berlin, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways were all there and visible together looking from T8 towards T7 and the QR A350 parked at the terminal.