Doha, QATAR – High flying Qatar Airways today welcomed its first Airbus A340-600 aircraft to become the launch customer of the High Gross Weight Version of the world’s longest passenger jet.
The 266-seat aircraft, which is capable of flying non-stop between Doha and the US east coast with a full load of passengers and cargo, arrived to a fireman’s salute welcome at Doha International Airport following a flight from Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse.
During the fireman’s salute never seen before in Doha, a water arch was formed by the local Fire Service as the aircraft taxied to its parking bay.
For the arrival ceremony, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was joined by Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority and the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee Airport, and Colonel Nasser Al-Malki, Director of the airport’s Passports and Security Department, together with airport officials, senior airline management and members of the media in Doha.
The arrival also marked another first for Qatar Airways as the airline showed off a brand new livery to take it into the next generation of air travel. The livery change is Qatar Airways’ first since its relaunch in 1997. The revamped livery will gradually be introduced as new aircraft join Qatar Airways’ expanding fleet, while existing planes will be repainted progressively over time.
The new A340-600 HGW (High Gross Weight) aircraft has a three-class cabin layout with innovative onboard features such as dedicated First and Business Class lounges for passengers travelling in the premium cabins to unwind and relax – a move designed to propel Qatar Airways into a more progressive and confident airline.
Another unique feature is live television with Qatar Airways becoming the first international airline to provide passengers with live streaming of a number of channels direct to their seatback TV systems. Live television has been gradually introduced this summer on selected Qatar Airways Airbus A330 long-haul aircraft operating within, and between, the Middle East and Europe.
The enhancements are part of an on-going product revamp that began last Autumn with the roll-out of a new style of onboard service across the airline’s premium cabins on long-haul flights.
The new A340-600 features 8 First Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 42 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout and 216 economy seats configured 2-4-2. The cabin layout is designed to offer the most spacious onboard environment in the air. The A340-600 is the world’s longest passenger jet, with an overall fuselage length of 75 metres.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “Today marks yet another historic day for Qatar Airways. Once again, we are witnessing further milestones with the arrival of our first Airbus A340-600.
“The A340 is our first four-engined aircraft, we are the first Middle East airline to offer passengers dedicated onboard First and Business Class lounges and, of course, we are the world’s first customer of this type of aircraft capable of flying with a full load of passengers and cargo for up to 14 hours non-stop.
“We look forward to seeing passengers experience our award-winning Five Star service and comfort on this wonderful aircraft, which will be used on a number of long-haul routes from Doha such as London Heathrow, Osaka and the US east coast.”
Qatar Airways has ordered 10 A340-600s for deliveries beginning this summer over a two-year period. The aircraft is designed to operate long-haul flights to points in Europe, United States, Far East and Australia.
Qatar Airways’ new-look sees the tail fin painted with an image of the Oryx, national animal and icon of the State of Qatar. Painted in the corporate burgundy colours of Qatar Airways, the Oryx design covers the entire tail fin, a significant increase in size from the current tail design.
A striking new addition is Qatar Airways’ Oryx logo painted on the belly of the A340-600, as well as the aircraft winglets.
In addition, the word ‘QATAR’ has been emblazoned in large bold burgundy letters across the forward end of the fuselage on both sides of the aircraft. The word ‘Al Qataria’ is inscribed in Arabic and light grey colour next to it.
The word ‘Airways’ has been dropped from the livery to reflect the confidence of the airline, moving from a small regional player of a few years ago to a full-service quality international airline based in the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf.
The upper section of the fuselage is painted light grey – and the bottom half in white.
First Class Lounge Onboard A340-600 (HGW)
Passengers flying in the premium cabin of the A340-600 (HGW) aircraft will have the added benefit of a dedicated onboard First Class lounge allowing them to relax and eat in the comfort of their very own special area. Epitomising luxury and innovation, the new First Class lounge promises to be one of the best in the air when it takes to the skies this summer.
The lounge features a stand-up bar with drinks rack and spotlight mood lighting. It also features cream leather sofas that can seat up to six passengers. Lampshades are positioned on two teak wooden tables, while a special additional aspect is electronically-operated window shades.
The general ambience of the lounge is one of comfort and relaxation with Qatar Airways’ strong burgundy corporate colours very evident in the curtains, carpets and furniture.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker described the revolutionary changes as a “giant step forward” for the airline as it enters the next generation of air travel.
“Our new First Class lounge onboard our A340-600 aircraft reflects the importance we pay to our most loyal customers – our premium class passengers who are looking for that little more attention, privacy and comfort.
“We cannot rest on our laurels which is why we are taking significant steps forward in both our image and product offering. “Qatar Airways is entering a new era. We are a confident and progressive airline which is why we are unveiling a bold new look and new onboard products that help project us as a more powerful brand.”
Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of 49 aircraft to 70 online destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East and Indian subcontinent. Together with its codeshare partners, Qatar Airways serves more than 90 cities worldwide.
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
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