More than 20 million seats will be flown on A350s during the course of 2017. The A350-1000, which is the largest variant of the A350 family, was granted type certification by European and US airworthiness authorities on 21 November, clearing it to enter airline service. The manufacturer hopes to deliver the first example to launch customer Qatar Airways before the end of the year. The Doha-based carrier was also the launch customer for the A350-900, the only variant from the family to enter service so far.
A350 operators nearly double in 2017
The first A350-900 was delivered to Qatar Airways in December 2014. According to Airbus, 122 A350-900s had been delivered up to 31 October 2017, while a further 559 remain on order, along with 169 A350-1000s. The Airbus delivery report shows that the largest A350 operators at the end of October were Cathay Pacific Airways with 19 aircraft, and Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines with 18 each. Unsurprisingly, these carriers are the top three A350 operators based on published capacity for the type in 2017. The pace of deliveries is increasing with the number of airlines operating A350s increasing from 10 in 2016, to 18 in 2017 (or 19 if LATAM Airlines and LATAM Airlines Brazil are classified as separate carriers).