Qatar Airways received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to receive the aircraft from the Seattle-based aircraft marker.
The airplane is the first of 30 787s ordered by the Doha-based airline, Boeing said in a statement.
“We are delighted to receive our first Dreamliner, an aircraft which we expect will establish new benchmarks for reliability and comfort, when combined with Qatar Airways’ signature passenger experience,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
“Our decision to invest in this game-changing airplane, which represents the future of air travel, reflects our firm belief in its unrivaled capabilities and the value it will add to our fleet and network expansion plans.”
The Dreamliner is a fuel-efficient mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes. However, the airplane has been hit by massive delays because of manufacturing errors, supply chain problems and part shortages, and Boeing was forced to pushed back its initial delivery dates by over three years.
Delivery finally began late last year.
Qatar Airways has announced that it will deploy the Dreamliner on services to Dubai, London Heathrow, Delhi and Zurich, with others planned as additional 787s join the fleet.
The carrier’s 787 cabins are configured with 22 seats in business class and 232 in economy. The aircraft will also come with cabin environment improvements such as improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, said Boeing.
“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,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“Today’s delivery marks the beginning of a new chapter in Boeing’s partnership with Qatar Airways,” he added.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is another big customer for Boeing’s Dreamliner in the region and has 41 planes on order. Bahrain-based Gulf Air, which had ordered 24 Dreamliners, announced earlier this week that it was reducing the order to 12-16 aircraft because of a restructuring programme.