The global debut of the airline’s new Dreamliner in Qatar Airways’ colours marks a significant milestone for the manufacturer’s 787 Middle East launch customer, which will take delivery of five 787s during 2012.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was joined by Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ new President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Conner, together with key figures from the UK travel industry, corporates and international media for the unveiling.
The aircraft later took to the skies for an aerial display, the first of three during the week-long event, marking the first time Boeing’s Dreamliner has participated in a flying show.
Al Baker said that Farnborough was the ideal platform to showcase the latest addition to Qatar Airways’ modern fleet to the travel industry, media and the wider public for the very first time.
“This is a very proud moment for Qatar Airways and my country, the State of Qatar. As an airline, we have continued to push the boundaries and set new standards in global aviation for more than a decade to create a world class airline,” he said.
“The delivery of the first of our 787s reinforces our commitment to continue this trend and invest in next generation aircraft, with the aim of having the youngest and most technologically advanced fleet in the industry.
“The 787 will create new benchmarks in comfort and space across both our Business and Economy cabins and continue to allow us to offer an unrivalled inflight experience and unparalleled signature Five Star service onboard to existing passengers and new ones.”
The first-time presence of the Dreamliner at Farnborough follows on from the UK debut of the airline’s 787 Business Class seats at the Business Travel Market in London last month, as well as their international debut at ITB Berlin – the world’s largest travel fair – and Middle East travel show, Arabian Travel Market, in recent weeks.
The seat design is revolutionary and the proprietary to Qatar Airways, which worked closely with the manufacturer to have custom-made seats fitted on the aircraft – with space and comfort a hallmark of both cabins.
The seat configuration onboard Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787 makes it an industry leader with innovative interior designs. Business Class is configured 1–2–1 featuring 22 seats that convert into fully flat horizontal beds, while the 232-seat Economy cabin has a 3–3–3 layout.
Key features include an award-winning iTouch touch control unit, over 1,000 movies, programming and audio entertainment options, an iPort, USB port, remote data outlet, a custom designed culinary offering, plenty of storage space for personal items and more – all available in every seat across both cabin classes.
Qatar Airways is set to be one of the first airlines to commercially fly the Dreamliner to the UK as the 787 prepares to make its long-haul debut between Doha and London Heathrow later this summer.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently flying a modern fleet of 109 aircraft to 117 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of the year, Qatar Airways has begun services to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Zagreb (Croatia), Kigali (Rwanda), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq) and Perth (Australia) with many more new destinations planned during 2012.
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways launches services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (July 25); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); Yangon, Myanmar (Oct 3); Maputo, Mozambique (October 31) and a date yet-to-be-announced to the Serbian capital Belgrade.
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 award last summer, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012.