Almost all Qatar A350-800s to become -1000s

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Qatar Airways is to take an additional 17 Airbus A350-1000s as part of its conversion away from the A350-800.

It will swap almost all of its 20 orders for the -800 to the largest model in the A350 family, a change brings the Middle Eastern carrier's orders to 37 -1000s.

Three remaining -800s will be converted to the A350-900 taking the airline's order for the baseline variant to 43.

Qatar's overall order will remain at 80 aircraft, says Airbus, which has confirmed the change. Flightglobal had previously revealed that the carrier would take more A350-1000s as part of its defection from the -800.

"We have taken the time necessary to come to today's decision in favour of the larger A350 models, which we believe are best suited to our business model," says Qatar chief Akbar Al Baker.

Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier says: "This decision by Qatar Airways not only confirms the market trend towards larger A350s but it also demonstrates the value of offering, as we do with the A350XWB, a true family of aircraft from which our customers can select the models that best meet their individual requirements."

Qatar's decision marks the second order for the redesigned -1000, following Cathay Pacific's commitment to the type earlier this year, but provides crucial backing for the programme following Al Baker's previous criticism of the change.

Airbus's backlog for the -1000 stands, as a result of the conversion, at 105.