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Qatar Airways has received its first Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft, which will be deployed on the national carrier’s Houston route from March 30.
The aircraft, Qatar Airways’ sixth Boeing 777, made its maiden non-stop flight from Boeing’s manufacturing base in Seattle to Doha in less than 15 hours.

The latest delivery takes Qatar Airways’ fleet size to 66 aircraft, which the airline termed “a remarkable achievement” in only its 12th year of operation.
The flight was manned by four pilots, two cabin crew members and an engineer. Among the pilots was Captain Amin Qush, a Qatari.
On arrival, the aircraft, its crew and technical staff were welcomed by employees of Qatar Airways and subsidiaries.

“I am extremely delighted and proud as a Qatari to have flown this wonderful aircraft on its faultless journey all the way from Seattle to Doha,” Captain Qush said.
“I have been privileged to have flown a number of delivery aircraft over the years, but this Boeing 777-200LR was something different, its performance was exceptional as we cruised to an altitude of 41,000ft for more than 14 hours.”

Captain Qush was joined on the flight by fellow Captain Hameed al-Alawi from Bahrain and first officers Anthony Pantin from Trinidad and Tobago, and Dutch national Jan Jonkman.
American Natasha Betita, Australian national Fawaz Melder and test engineer Raed Ayoub from Jordan, made up the “truly international crew” for the special flight.

Qatar Airways’ manager (Aircraft Delivery) Ibrahim al-Jassim said: “Our first Boeing 777-200LR was a perfect delivery, on schedule after all the operational tests and acceptance certificate granted. It is a great feeling to see the newest plane in Qatar Airways’ colours on home soil.”

The Boeing 777-200LR has a range of up to 17 hours and is capable of flying non-stop to virtually any key business or leisure destination worldwide from Qatar Airways’ Doha hub.
The Doha–Houston route will be Qatar Airways’ first long-haul service to be operated with the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with its launch scheduled for March 30.

The Houston route will also be one of the world’s longest non-stop flights.
Until the Houston launch, the aircraft will be deployed on routes in the Middle East and South Asia to allow crew to get more accustomed to the aircraft.

In November 2007, Qatar Airways placed orders for some 32 Boeing 777 passenger and cargo aircraft, comprising 14 of the 777-300ER variant, six 777-200LRs and seven 777-200 Freighters. There are options for a further five Boeing 777s.

With six Boeing 777s currently flying in Qatar Airways’ colours, the remaining 26 will be delivered within two years and the aircraft will form the backbone of the airline’s long-haul fleet of the future. The two Boeing 777 passenger variants will facilitate a major expansion in the airline’s long haul network.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al-Baker said: “Qatar Airways truly is an international airline and this was reflected by the flight operating crew who brought our newest Boeing 777 to Doha to mark yet another milestone in our history, being the longest flying aircraft in our fleet.

“With a flying range of up to 17 hours non-stop, this aircraft will offer passengers ultimate levels of comfort and service to ultra long-haul destinations direct from Doha. The aircraft also features unrivalled facilities, which will certainly provide our competitors with something to think about.”

The Boeing 777-200LR features some 259 seats – 42 in business class and 217 in economy.

Al-Baker said: “The Boeing 777s offer the greatest levels of space and comfort across our long-haul fleet. With a 78-inch business class pitch, our 42 premium seats are undoubtedly the best in the region. And our 217 seats in economy offer the greatest levels of comfort in this cabin than any other airline in the region.”

Gulf-Times


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