Which airlines could adopt the A350, originally built for Qatar Airways?

It is now well known that Qatar Airways and Airbus are in a deep and fierce dispute resulting from surface degradation on the A350 operated by the carrier. Due to the fact that Qatar Airways is unlikely to accept the delivery of another aircraft from Airbus in the foreseeable future, what exactly can happen to aircraft built but not delivered to a Middle Eastern carrier? Today let’s look at some possibilities.

Three planes are built, painted, but not delivered

Airbus currently has three completed A350-1000s built for Qatar Airways. Three aircraft built in late 2021 and early 2022 are fully operational, and each has already made several test flights.

During this long period of negotiations and legal disputes the aircraft was maintained, receiving periodic engine starts and taxi checks. And although the aircraft has been assigned registration codes for Qatari aircraft, data from Planespotters.net suggest that the aircraft will not have these registrations for long, and that they really won’t be accepted by Qatar Airways. So, if so, which operators may be able to take the plane?

Air India

Back in late March, numerous sources indicated that Air India was in talks with Airbus to modernize its fleet. According to News18, Airbus India President Remy Mylar said: “We are negotiating with all airlines.”

However, when it comes to Air India, Mylar said the company already has relationships with other Tata Group airlines – Vistara and AirAsia India. Thus, the existing relationship with the new parent company Air India could prove to be a significant “foot in the door” for the adoption of a new type of airline.

The airline has the opportunity to meet loved ones with the A350-1000 when he toured India in late March, The A350, previously intended for Qatar Airways, could well be suitable for Air India. The planes are likely to have a discount, and Airbus is likely to be thrilled and highly motivated to add another old airline to its list of A350 operators – especially the carrier that has so far mainly operated Boeing wide-body aircraft.

Eventually Air India may want to upgrade its fleet and replace its old Boeing 777. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple flight


As we noted in October 2021, Lufthansa has accelerated the release of the Airbus A350-900, taking four more aircraft in early 2022. These aircraft will be supplied by lessors, namely Avolon, SMBC Aviation Capital and Goshawk. So far, three of the four aircraft have been delivered to a German carrier. Without these leased aircraft, the next Airbus A350 was to be delivered in July 2023.

According to a March report by FlightGlobal, the German carrier was looking for more than the A350. Lufthansa was previously called a possible recipient of A350 aircraft that had previously flown to Aeroflot. But perhaps Lufthansa might think adding A350-1000 to your fleet? Maybe it’s a stretch, but there are some factors that can make it more possible.

Lufthansa is already a major Airbus A350 operator – but only with the -900 option. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple flight

As air travel continues to recover after Covid, the first brand new 787 Dreamliner Lufthansa looks like this quite delayed amid current controls Boeing FAA. Depending on how long it drags on, this could be one of the factors that could push Lufthansa to adopt efficient and easily accessible wide-body aircraft at Airbus. Worsens the situation Boeing has extended the delay of its 777-9, the first delivery of which should now take place in 2025.

While there are probably factors we don’t notice, the three brand new A350-1000 seems to be a great opportunity for the airline, which is already a major A350-900 operator.

Orphans A350

Ultimately, due to a dispute with Qatar Airways and sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, Airbus has several A350s left orphaned – new planes looking for new homes. For any airline that has the resources and the appropriate level of current and projected future demand, it would seem that the orphaned wide-body Airbus is a fantastic opportunity if the legal hurdles disappear.

What do you think will happen to these Airbus A350-1000? Are there other airlines that want them? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Sources: Planespotters.net, News18, FlightGlobal


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