Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways took another step into the history books today with the delivery of its first Boeing aircraft as part of the airline’s aggressive expansion strategy into the next decade.
The first of Qatar Airways’ 32 Boeing 777 aircraft arrived at Doha International Airport this afternoon following its long flight from Seattle with airline management, senior Boeing executives and US media onboard.
The arrival of the Boeing 777-300 Extended Range passenger aircraft was greeted with a water salute ceremony followed by a press conference hosted by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker and Boeing’s vice-president sales for the Middle East, Lee Monson.
The 335-seat aircraft features 42 seats in Business Class in a 2–2–2 configuration, each offering a generous pitch of 78 inches and individual TV screens measuring 15.4 inches. Economy Class has 293 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a 32-inch pitch and 10.6- inch TV screens, designed to offer optimum viewing. Both Business and Economy class cabins offer in-seat PC power supply.
The aircraft also features a revamped inflight entertainment system, Oryx Entertainment, offering each passenger more than 700 entertainment options.
Qatar Airways has confirmed orders for fourteen Boeing 777-300ERs, six 777-200LRs and seven 777-200Fs, with deliveries running until mid-2010. There are options for a further five Boeing 777 aircraft. The two passenger Boeing 777 variants will facilitate a major expansion in the airline’s long haul passenger network.
The Boeing 777-200 freighters, which will be delivered from 2009, provide outstanding economics enabling
Qatar Airways to build up an efficient cargo hub linking Europe and Asia, supplemented by its regional wide-body freighters.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways strengthened its relationship with Boeing by confirming orders for 30 of the company’s next generation Boeing 787 aircraft with options for a further 30. The airline will become the first Middle East carrier to operate both Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the arrival of the first Boeing 777 in Qatar Airways’ colours marked the start of what promised to be a long and fruitful relationship with one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers.
“This year has been an historic year for Qatar Airways for many reasons,” he said.
“Qatar Airways launched flights to the United States for the first time during 2007 with scheduled flights to New York and Washington, we placed orders for 92 Boeing aircraft comprising the 787s and 777s and are proud and delighted to see the first of our Boeing planes arrive in Doha today in what is our 10th year of operations.
“With a capability of flying 16 hours non-stop, the Boeing 777 truly does provide Qatar Airways with global coverage, linking Doha with any city worldwide.
“Our first first Boeing 777 will be deployed on the Doha – Washington route from January 2008, by which time the airline takes delivery of its second Boeing 777. Until then, the aircraft will fly selected regional routes across the Middle East.
“The Boeing 777s offer the greatest levels of space and comfort across our long-haul fleet. With a 78-inch Business Class pitch, our 42 premium seats are undoubtedly the best in the region. And our 293 seats in Economy offer the greatest levels of comfort in this cabin than any other airline in the region.”
Added Al Baker: “But it’s not all about seat comfort and space. Hospitality and the highest standards of service are our hallmark at Qatar Airways. We are delighted to be among a select-few airlines in the world to introduce the next generation in-flight entertainment systems – the Panasonic eX2 – onboard our Boeing 777s.
“With more than 700 audio and video entertainment options, we have an unrivalled selection for passengers to choose from. More than 150 international movies, over 50 games and hundreds of hours of video and audio programming – this clearly is a ‘Multiplex in the Sky’.”
Doha-based Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of 59 aircraft to 80 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Far East and North America.
Qatar Airways is one of only five 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 12 million passengers. During the 2006/07 financial year, Qatar Airways carried more than 8 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
The launch of the US flights was the highlight of Qatar Airways’ route expansion programme during 2007, which has already seen Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai, Geneva, Nagpur and Stockholm added to the carrier’s burgeoning network.
|From November 27, Qatar Airways launched four-flights-a-week to the Swedish capital Stockholm. Daily scheduled services to the western Indian city of Ahmedabad are due to begin on December 12.|
Qatar Airways will have a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2015 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, together with 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s. 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 2009, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways’ award-winning Privilege Club won an unprecedented eight accolades at the annual US-based Freddie Awards, designed to honour loyalty programmes across the global travel industry. For more information, visit www.qmiles.com