Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker today led a delegation of airline personnel, media and invited guests to welcome the carrier’s second Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft, in a ceremony held at Doha International Airport.
The aircraft – Qatar Airways’ seventh Boeing 777 – was earlier given its full certification and clearance to leave Boeing’s Delivery Flight Centre in Seattle, Washington for the near 15-hour journey to its new home in Doha. Guests aboard the ferry flight included a selection of journalists from the United States, India and the GCC and a high-profile delegation of bankers and financiers.
The latest delivery takes Qatar Airways’ fleet size to 67 aircraft and keeps the airline well on course of its remarkable expansion with an average of one new plane joining the burgeoning fleet every month over the next few years.
Al Baker announced that the aircraft was officially named “Gaza” in solidarity with civilian victims of the recent conflict in Gaza.
“I know many of us have been deeply touched by the civilian deaths in the recent bombing of Gaza. Qatar Airways wants to recognise that innocent people, and in particular large numbers of children, were killed in these bomb attacks, and naming our latest aircraft “Gaza” is a symbolic gesture to commemorate and honour these victims," he said.
“The name ‘Gaza’ will fly around the world on Qatar Airways and spread a message of peace and humanity.
"Qatar Airways customarily names each of its aircraft after place names within the State of Qatar. But we have made an exception in this case.”
At the start of February, Qatar Airways offered its support to the One Million Candles campaign, an initiative launched by UK resident Manal Timraz in response to the death of 15 of her family members in a single bomb attack on the Gaza Strip. Twelve of those who died were children – the Palestinian woman’s nieces and nephews. Timraz asked that people donate candles to remember the loss of lives on the West Bank and as a peaceful but powerful signal that public opinion in Britain was against such attacks where innocent victims were killed unnecessarily.
High profile donations included that of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who donated a candle to the campaign.
Over 75 countries became involved in the movement that asked supporters who did not have a channel through which to donate candles, to light their own candles on Valentine’s Day.
Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Cargo offered to transport the candles from Britain to the Middle East.
“Qatar Airways felt compelled to offer its support to the One Million Candles campaign, as it sends a peaceful message of support,” added Al Baker.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways took delivery of its first Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, which is capable of flying on ultra long-haul routes of up to 17 hours non-stop – effectively to any key business or leisure destination in the world from Doha.
The long range Boeings will be paired to operate Qatar Airways newest route to the United States. The Doha – Houston route, linking the energy capitals of the world is scheduled for launch on March 30.
Daily scheduled flights will bridge the two cities offering passengers with excellent connections beyond Houston to cities across the US and beyond Doha to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Far East.
Al Baker said the airline’s latest asset demonstrated its commitment towards expansion with a rapidly growing fleet.
“Just three weeks ago Qatar Airways celebrated the arrival of its first Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft – our sixth Boeing 777 overall since deliveries began in November 2007,” he said.
About Qatar Airways: Doha-based Qatar Airways has a strong record in supporting humanitarian initiatives, having sent aid to victims of the 2004 tsunami that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The airline has also delivered humanitarian aid to Darfur in Sudan, as well as offered to help re-build schools in China following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in 2007 and also supporting the rebuilding efforts of victims of the strong tremors in Pakistan a year earlier in which thousands of people lost their lives.
Qatar Airways has also delivered three cargo plane loads of humanitarian aid to Gaza as part of the relief efforts of the Qatari government. The airline employs over 12,000 people from 83 nationalities, and has offices in 90 countries around the world making Qatar Airways a truly international airline.
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