MIAMI — Qatar Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A350 XWB at the manufacturer’s plant in Toulouse, France, on December 13, with a media event scheduled for December 15 in Doha. AirwaysNews will be in attendance at the delivery.

The airline is the launch customer of the A350 and has an order of 80 set for delivery. The aircraft, launched by Airbus in 2007, is seen as the manufacturer’s way of competing with the Boeing 787 and the 777.

The A350-900 XWB was designed to directly compete with the Boeing 777-200ER and replace the A330-300. The engines are Rolls-Royce Trent XWBs, which have 84,000 pounds of thrust each, giving the aircraft a range of 8,100 nm/15,000 km. Qatar’s version will seat 283, at 247 in economy and 36 in business class.

The carrier plans to start using the A350 on the Doha-Frankfurt route starting in January 2015. “The delivery of our first A350 XWB aircraft, as global launch customer, is a highly anticipated event in the relatively young history of Qatar Airways and the second significant fleet milestone for our airline, having recently taken delivery of our A380 aircraft,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker in a statement.