A Boeing hangar was the fitting venue for the official handing over of the aircraft to Qatar Airways, a ceremony watched by scores of airline management, Boeing executives and both local and international media. Guest of honour was Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi.
Last night’s event was followed by a celebratory dinner where employees from both Boeing and Qatar Airways were honoured for their dedication and commitment, working together on the 787 project. The airline’s first Dreamliner is scheduled to take off from Seattle for Doha later today, arriving into Qatar tomorrow (Wednesday 14 November).
The delivery marks a milestone in Middle East aviation with Qatar Airways becoming the first airline from the region to take delivery of the 787. The Doha-based carrier has 60 Dreamliners on order with deliveries planned over the next few weeks, months and years.
Space, comfort and luxury are key features of the aircraft with Qatar Airways having pushed the boundaries in air travel to create a unique onboard 787 travel experience. The seat design is revolutionary and proprietary to Qatar Airways, which worked closely with the manufacturer to have custom-made seats fitted on the aircraft.
The aircraft is also the world’s first 787 to be fully connected with wireless facilities enabling all passengers in both business and economy cabins to remain connected with the ground through Wi-Fi and GSM telephony options. The fully interactive inflight entertainment system offers more than 1,000 video and audio options to every passenger.
Addressing guests at the Seattle ceremony, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the newest aircraft type to join the airline’s fleet since 2007 represented a momentous occasion as the company entered a new chapter in its remarkable history.
“Five years ago, Boeing delivered its first ever aircraft to us, a triple seven. In 2007, we celebrated another milestone as Qatar Airways entered the American market with the launch of scheduled flights to New York and Washington DC,” he said.
“Today, we are witness to stronger ties with the United States and Boeing as we become the first Middle East customer to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner.
“Boeing has crafted a state-of-the-art aeroplane, designed to be yet another asset to excel our signature Five Star service in the sky to all our passengers across the Middle East and around the world.”
He added: “Qatar Airways set about a dream to fly our nation’s flag to all corners of the world when we launched operations 15 years ago. We have been the World’s Best Airline for two consecutive years and today we are spreading our wings further with the delivery of one of the most advanced aircraft in the world.
“Our decision to invest in the 787 that is at the forefront of new aerospace technology represents the future of air travel and reflects our firm belief in its unrivalled capabilities and the value it will add to our fleet and network expansion plans.
“Our new 787s provide a game-changing experience with specially designed interiors, spacious cabins and custom-made seats in both Business and Economy Class.
“Space, comfort and ensuring our passengers have the best onboard entertainment options are some of the key elements of our new Boeing 787s. Qatar Airways has taken a lot of time and effort in ensuring we are true leaders in the field rather than followers, meticulously working with manufacturers on specific seat design and features.”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said: “There is no doubt in my mind that Qatar Airways is one of the most remarkable airline success stories of our time and it is only fitting that it has taken delivery of the most technologically advanced jetliner of our time.
“The 787, with its unmatched fuel efficiency and passenger comfort, is certain to enable Qatar Airways’ plans to continue to deliver on its promise of quality and profitability. Today’s delivery marks the beginning of a new chapter in Boeing’s partnership with Qatar Airways, which is based on a mutual commitment to excellence.”
Made from composite materials, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes.
Qatar Airways’ customers will experience cabin environment improvements such as improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other features.
Qatar Airways’ new 787s feature a total of 254 seats in a two-class configuration of 22 in Business Class and 232 in Economy.
With a 1–2–1 configuration in Business Class, the layout features two less seats than competitors on conventional wide body aircraft, more typical of a First Class cabin where each passenger is assured of direct aisle access. The seats have been designed exclusively for Qatar Airways.
The seat offers considerable personal space – almost double than existing business cabins – allowing passengers to sit back and relax in a 22-inch wide armchair that converts at a touch of a button into different cradle positions before reaching an extremely generous 80-inch long, 30-inch wide flat bed offering exceptional legroom.
Armrests can be fully adjusted to different heights to complement different body positions while dining, reading, working or resting. Passengers will also be able to dine and work comfortably with an elegant wood trimmed large sliding table. When dining begins, passengers can easily rest their laptops on the side table. There is ample storage space such as a drawer and side compartment for personal belongings. The seats, produced by B/E Aerospace, also feature generous 17-inch personal touch screen TV monitors.
In Economy Class, configured 3–3–3, the Recaro-produced seats embody the very latest in design technology and materials assuring all passengers have a high degree comfort and personal space. Featuring one less seat per row than competitors on other wide body aircraft, the Economy seats promise to offer a totally different travel experience.
With 7 inches of recline, both the seat cushion and backrest adjust to ‘cradle’ the passenger into greater comfort. The slim-line seat design set at a pitch of 32 inches, together with a 16.9-inch width, offers more personal space than ever before. The adjustable hammock-style headrest allows passengers to comfortably support their head while resting.
Each Economy Class seat is fitted with 10.6-inch seat back TV monitors offering passengers optimum viewing of a wide array of in-flight entertainment options.
A striking feature of every seat throughout the aircraft is the award-winning touch screen Android technology control units, where passengers are able to navigate through a truly interactive system, offering more than 1,000 movie, TV programmes, music and gaming entertainment options in a sophisticated and user friendly way, just like the latest smart phones.
The touch-screen control unit has a unique dual screen interface allowing passengers to play games on their handheld device while enjoying a movie on their personal screen.
Passengers can be fully connected through WIFI and GSM telephony, sending both text and MMS messages. Voice calls, although possible, will be disabled to minimise passenger disruption. Personal power ports are available in every seat, equipped with USB, MP3 and other charger ports, including laptop power outlets. USB ports enable holiday pictures from digital cameras to be viewed on the personal screens, while iPort connectors enable iPod and iPhone content to be displayed on passengers’ mini TVs ensuring they are fully connected to work and play.
The 787 is quieter than other aircraft allowing passengers to work, sleep or relax in peace. With the largest windows in the industry and first-of-its-kind electronic touch pad controls to adjust the amount of light entering the cabin, passengers are able to look outside without glare, replacing conventional blinds.
Dynamic mood lighting throughout the aircraft helps passengers adjust their body clocks according to the change in time zones as lighting is automatically altered during the flight.
The design of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner ensures that customers arrive at their destination feeling less fatigued and more refreshed as the cabin pressure is 2,000 feet closer to ground level and the air purification system is cleaner and healthier than many other aircraft.
Passengers on Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will also have a great new inflight dining experience. An all-star team of culinary ambassadors, including the award-winning Chef Ramzi Choueiri, Chef Vineet Bhatia, Chef Tom Aikens and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa have collaborated exclusively with Qatar Airways to create the ‘Qatar Airways Culinary World Menu’ – a new range of tempting signature dishes to satisfy the tastes of the airline’s discerning passengers.
Upon entering service, Qatar Airways’ first 787 will initially operate with commercial passengers on flights to Dubai to familiarise crew of the aircraft before making its maiden long-haul commercial flight between Doha and London Heathrow next month. As more Dreamliners join the fleet, they will be deployed on other key routes, including Zurich, Delhi and Frankfurt.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 112 aircraft to 120 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Yangon (Myanmar); and Maputo (Mozambique).
Over the next few weeks and months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Belgrade, Serbia (November 20); Warsaw, Poland (December 5), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).
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. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh 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. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In October 2012, Qatar Airways became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com