The Airbus A350-1000, the largest variant of the A350 family, has reached a new milestone in its short flying career, landing in the United States for the first time. Operated by Qatar Airways, the launch customer for the type, the aircraft touched down at Philadelphia International Airport shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday after a flight from Munich, Germany.
Although not the same A350-1000 that was the centerpiece of Qatar Airways’ Farnborough International Airshow display, the aircraft surprisingly enough did not come from Doha on its regularly scheduled Doha to Philadelphia route. The airline opted to suspend its daily flight from Doha to Philadelphia, typically operated by the A350-900, and fly the aircraft to the City of Brotherly Love via Munich.
— PHLAirport (@PHLAirport) July 23, 2018
Intrigue has been surrounding the flight as the aircraft had been operating a regular schedule prior to the flight, visiting destinations such as London, Kuwait City and Tehran, before departing for Munich Monday morning as QR3451. Once in Munich, the aircraft remained on the ground for just under three hours, according to data from FlightRadar24, and then departed for Philadelphia as QR7451.
The timing of the flight to Munich is similar to its scheduled overnight service to Munich, QR59, but FlightRadar24 shows that QR59 flew its scheduled flight to Munich on an A350-900. While its unknown if Qatar flew passengers on either leg, the airline has been touting its new aircraft throughout Europe, flying one-off flights with it to cities such as Athens, Greece.
The aircraft features Qatar Airways’ new Q-Suite product, previously only found on the airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which AirlineGeeks had the opportunity to experience earlier this year, including the double bed feature. Passengers flying business class today from Philadelphia to Doha will have the opportunity to experience the new product as the aircraft will be subbing in for the A350-900 on the flight back to Qatar.
While it’s unclear if the airline will be placing the A350-1000 on an American route in the future, the A350-1000 can add another stamp in its passport after visiting the Land of the Free for the first time.
UPDATE 2:01 p.m.: The flight from Munich to Philadelphia is speculated to be a charter flight for the soccer team Bayern Munich for their match against Juventus F.C. in the International Champions Cup taking place in Philadelphia this week. The team is sponsored by Qatar Airways.