The new batch of five Airbus A350-1000s ordered by Qatar Airways will be the longer-range version, featuring higher gross weights.
Airbus announced on 1 October that Qatar Airways had switched five of its existing A350-900 orders to the larger -1000 variant. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the airline currently operates 34 aircraft of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered type: 30 -900s and four -1000s.
The switch, which increases the airline's A350-1000 total orders to 42 aircraft, will provide a better mix of aircraft capacities for its future fleet, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker tells FlightGlobal.
"We feel that the -1000 is more efficient than the -900, and it fits into our capacity requirement. With the 787-9s [on order] and the A350-1000s, we have the exact fit."
Al Baker says the ordered -1000s will be a new high-gross-weight version that Airbus has in development. The new batch will be delivered in 2020-21.
The manufacturer has declined to confirm any details of this new specification, but FlightGlobal understands that it features a 3-4t increase which will be available from around 2020.
With the current highest maximum take-off weight of 316t, the A350-1000 has a range of 8,400nm (15,540km). It is unclear how much additional range the increased weight will deliver, but Al Baker says the -1000 "becomes a very potent aeroplane when that [new weight] happens".