Qatar Airways unveils first Dreamliner
The business class cabin of Qatar Airways new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo: Reuters
The first flights to Australia by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be made by the airline rated the best in the world.
Qatar Airways announced Thursday that it would begin flying Dreamliners on Doha to Perth flights from February 1 next year.
Australian passengers flying the route will also be able to take a Qatar Dreamliner on to London's Heathrow airport.
The airline's Dreamliners are fitted out with 254 seats across business (22 seats) and economy (232 seats) classes, in a 1-2-1 configuration in business and a 3-3-3 configuration in economy. Qatar Airways has a total of 60 Dreamliners ordered as part of a $US50 billion dollar order for 250 new aircraft, including Boeing 777s and Airbus A380 superjumbos.
Qatar Airways was rated the best airline in the world at this year's World Airline Awards, run by research company Skytrax. The airline is expanding its presence in Australia, with daily flights from Melbourne and Perth.
Qatar does not fly into Sydney and does not intend to until the airport becomes a 24-hour operation, CEO Akbar Al Baker recently told Traveller columnist Clive Dorman.
"We are keen to fly to Sydney. I don't see any reason why it's not a 24-hour airport," he said. "Residents must keep in mind that with today's new technology, planes have [the latest] 'stage four' noise emissions, so as soon as they take off and get to 500 feet, you can hardly hear them.
"All the fuss is being made by greenies, but they still want to travel in planes, yet [they] are restricting the growth of aviation and the economic benefits to the country."
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a revolutionary aircraft, the first to be built from composite-plastic fuselage and wings, instead of aluminum.
Other design improvements of the new aircraft include a wider cabin, larger overhead bins and electronic dimmable windows. Boeing also claims the air is fresher as it is drawn directly from outside the plane and not through the engines as in other aircraft, and that the air is more humid, making the flight more comfortable for passengers.
The Dreamliner has not been without its problems though. There were years of delays before the first commercial flight finally occurred with launch customer All Nippon Airways in October last year, and just last week the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered safety checks on all 787s after the discovery of fuel leaks.
This came shortly after a brand-new United Airlines Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing after a generator on board failed, just eight days after the jet had entered service.