Qatar Airways has a new route from Doha to Adelaide -- which will be the the first commercial Airbus A350 to land on Australian soil, expected to add an estimated $41 million to the local economy.
The launch of the new Adelaide route is part of Qatar Airways' expansion plans in Australia. It launched its new daily flight to Sydney in March this year, and has been flying daily to and from Melbourne since 2009 and Perth since 2012.
Local demand is so great that the aircraft on the Sydney route will be upgraded from a Boeing 777 (with a capacity of 335 passengers) to an Airbus A380 (with a capacity of 517 passengers) by September this year.
As the global launch customer of the Airbus A350, Qatar Airways has the largest fleet of this aircraft type of any airline in the world and already flies its eight aircraft to Munich, Singapore, the United States and Frankfurt.
"We believe that the people of South Australia deserve the best possible passenger experience when connecting to friends and family across the globe," Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker said.
"This is why we are proud to offer them the most modern aircraft in the aviation industry, the Airbus A350, to take them to their destinations of choice where they will arrive feeling more relaxed, and less fatigued from a long-haul flight than ever before thanks to the modern technology on board this state-of-the-art aircraft."
South Australia's Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, welcomed the news. "Qatar Airways' direct daily flights will bring in more than $41 million into our visitor economy and create 228 jobs across the state."
"It is great timing for South Australia," Bignell said. "We have just come off our highest ever number of international visitors to the state with almost 10 per cent more visitors than this time last year and well above the national growth rate."
"South Australia will be opened up to an even larger international audience with Qatar Airways flying from more than 150 destinations around the world and providing additional links between South Australia and the Middle East, Europe, India and the United States," Bignell added.
And it's not just people he's excited to see coming in and out of SA on the aircraft. The new service to Adelaide will also provide 80 tonnes of cargo capacity per week in and out of the South Australia hub in the belly hold of the A350, connecting Australia’s leading exporters to Qatar Airways Cargo's global network of more than 150 stations around the world. Qatar Airways Cargo, the third largest international cargo carrier, already carries more than 450 tonnes of freight in the belly hold of its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft into and out of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne per week.
"As Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, I am also keen to ensure we fill the freight section of the daily flights with premium South Australian seafood and high-quality fruit and vegetables," Bignell said.
"We're excited to be the first airport in Australia to welcome the new-generation Airbus A350-900 aircraft -- one of the most technologically advanced twin-engine aircraft in the world," Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Mr. Mark Young, commented.
"The Qatar Airways Doha-Adelaide service opens up a brand new link with the Middle East, and provides excellent connections further afield such as with Europe and the UK."
Qatar Airways says that passengers travelling to or from Adelaide on board the Airbus A350 in one of its 36 Business Class seats "will enjoy one of the most comfortable fully-flat beds in the sky" with 80 inches of seat pitch.
The 1-2-1 configuration gives every passenger direct access to an aisle, and the on-demand à la carte menu service allows Business Class passengers to order anything from the menu at any time during the flight. The aircraft also features the state-of the-art Oryx One entertainment system, with more than 3,000 entertainment options on individual screens in all classes.
The new flights will depart Doha at 9:30pm arriving in Adelaide at 5pm, and depart Adelaide at 9:25pm arriving in Doha at 4:50am.