Perth is to become the first city in Australia to be served by Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner when Qatar Airways starts daily service to the Western Australian capital from Doha in the last week of December.
QR’s ceo, Akbar Al Baker made the announcement overnight at a news conference in Belgrade, the latest city to join QR’s expanding global network.
“Yes, we plan to put the Dreamliner on the Doha-Perth route once we go from thrice-weekly to daily flights late next month,” he said in answer to a question from Travel Daily. “We have just one 787 so far, but in a few weeks we expect to have four Dreamliners in our fleet, and they will offer lots of space and comfort for our Perth pax,” he added.
“There’ll be 22 seats in our Premium cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration, all with full lie-flat beds, large 17 inch screens, and of course our award-winning touch screen personal control unit. In Economy Class, we’ll have 333 seats, one seat less than our competition with touch screen in-flight entertainment.”
Al Baker also revealed that his airline has no further expansion plans for Australia, but he did hit out at those who oppose the lifting of Sydney’s overnight curfew.
“We are keen to fly to Sydney and I don’t see any reason why it’s not a 24hr airport; residents must keep in mind that today’s new technology planes have stage 4 noise emissions, so as soon as they take off and get to 500 feet, you can hardly hear them,” Al Baker said.
“All the fuss is being made by greenies, but they still want to travel in planes, yet are restricting the growth of aviation and the economic benefits to the country.”
As for the new QF/EK proposed alliance, Al Baker said he is very happy Qantas is joining forces with them. “We are good friends with both carriers, and I have no regrets about joining the
oneworld alliance, we are going to compliment each other.”
The airline boss also said the massive new US$15.5 billion Doha International Airport won’t now open until December 2013, a year behind schedule. The airport is nearly complete he said, but the airline was let down by a German firm who defaulted on a US$250 million contract to build premium lounges.
“We have now contracted an Italian company to do the job, and the German firm will soon be getting a letter from our lawyers seeking half-a-billion dollars in compensation,” said Al Baker.
When the airport is complete he said, it will have the longest runways in the world as well as the world’s largest aircraft hanger that can fit 5 huge A380’s side by side.
“We’ll be the only airport in the world with the most sophisticated baggage system with a minimum connecting time of just 30mins between flights – we’ll have a 25 meter swimming pool, a 4-star hotel in the airport, squash courts, spas and a large shopping complex,” he said.
Pic from left are: Ian Lovelock, QR Senior Manager Eastern Europe; Akbar Al Baker, CEO and
Grisha Jenkov, QR Country Manager, Balkans