- Special Pages
DOHA/LONDON: Qatar Airways (QA) yesterday launched its inaugural long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliner service on the Doha – London Heathrow route, becoming the first airline to operate regular scheduled flights to and from the UK, a statement said yesterday.
The 787s are the world’s first fully connected Dreamliners with wireless facilities for passengers to remain in touch with their friends and loved ones on the ground through the Internet and SMS mobile texting across both the Business and Economy cabins.
Despite wintry weather, QA’s 787 – flight QR075 – was warmly welcomed at the Heathrow airport by a special arrival ceremony.
An official delegation was on the inaugural flight from the airline’s Doha hub, including the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker and special guest, Michael O’Neill, British Ambassador to Qatar.
The Dreamliner’s debut from the Doha-based carrier marks the start of an exciting new era for travellers to and from the UK, who will have the opportunity to travel the world onboard one of the most spacious and comfortable aircraft in the skies today.
Combining breakthrough technology with a human approach to design, it is the first time Boeing has developed a plane from the point of view of passenger experience. QA worked closely with Boeing on the design interiors being a key customer of the manufacturer’s newest aircraft.
On arrival at Heathrow, Al Baker said: “Today we inaugurate our 787 on the London Heathrow route, putting Qatar Airways firmly on the global aviation map as a carrier with a determination to continue its expansion drive and improve an already superior in-flight product.”
“The Doha – Heathrow route is one of our most popular international routes and it was only fitting that we deploy our new 787 to and from London.”
Initially, one of the airline’s five daily flights is being operated with the Boeing 787 – Flight QR 075 departing Doha at 0625 hrs, arriving at London Heathrow at 1105 hrs, with the return flight QR 076 departing London Heathrow at 1505 hrs, arriving in Doha at 0045 hrs the following day.
Qatar Airways took delivery of the first of 60 Dreamliners last month with the third 787 joining the airline’s fleet just days ago. Since taking delivery of its first 787 four weeks ago, QA has been flying the aircraft between Doha and both Dubai and Kuwait allowing cabin crew to familiarise themselves with the airplane.
Added Al Baker: “We will be introducing the Dreamliner on our daily Doha – Perth route from February 1 next year, the first ever 787 commercial service to Australia giving travellers between the UK and Australia a unique 787 experience of unrivalled comfort and style all the way with the world’s Five Star and Best Airline.”
Qatar Airways has 254 custom-made seats across its 787 Business and Economy Class cabins with specially designed interiors. Business Class is configured 1–2–1 with 22 seats, while Economy has 232 seats in a 3–3–3 layout.