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Qatar Airways launches Boeing 787 service
Qatar will be the first Middle East airline to fly the Dreamliner. Even the company's testy CEO can't hide his delight
Traveling between Doha and London? From December 1 you'll be able to fly the world’s newest airliner.
On Monday, November 12, Qatar Airways became the first Middle Eastern airline to accept delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The world's best airline, according to Skytrax, will seat 252 passengers in its 787s: 22 in business, 232 in economy. Business class is configured in 1x2x1 seating and will feature lie-flat seats.
Economy, in 3x3x3 seating, will have seats that recline six inches but because the seat bottom moves forward, the recline is equivalent to nine inches, a major improvement over normal coach seating.
Pitch -- the distance between seats -- is a typical 31-32 inches but the seat’s design gives the look and feel of 34 inches, a generous amount of room.
Qatar is abandoning first class on all aircraft except the Airbus A380 super-jumbo. But its business class is the equivalent to first class seating and amenities.
Passengers will have 1,000 audio and visual entertainment programs to choose from. Qatar’s 787s are the first to have Wi-Fi for Internet and GSM phone service, although the latter will be disabled in flight for passenger privacy. All seats have individual TV screens.
The aircraft has bigger windows than other airplanes, a feature permitted by the composite structure used for the fuselage.
Composites also permit the 787’s cabin to be pressurized to 6,000 vs. 8,000 feet and have higher humidity, which make for more comfortable travel.
Mood lighting in the cabin is intended to mimic atmospheric lighting to permit easier sleep and reduce jet lag.
More on CNN: Dreamliner makes U.S. debut
'We don't want to talk about delays'
The aircraft, accepted by Qatar in ceremonies at Boeing Field in Seattle (WA), is the 35th 787 Boeing delivered in the much-delayed program.
Qatar’s cantankerous chief executive officer, Akbar Al-Baker, refused to accept delivery of this aircraft as scheduled for reasons undisclosed by Boeing or Qatar.
But Monday the outspoken Al-Baker, known throughout the aviation industry for his stinging public criticism of Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney, was gracious.
“This is a new technology aircraft and any new aircraft has teething problems,” Al-Baker said about his refusal to take delivery of this aircraft as scheduled.
“We don’t want to talk about delays. Today we want to talk about the future. We should put this behind us and look at the future.”
Al-Baker said Qatar will accept delivery of four more 787s this year and will add services to Delhi, Dubai and Zurich in addition to London.
The carrier has 30 on firm order and 30 optioned, with delivery stretching into 2017. He hopes to be the first customer for the next 787 sub-type, the 787-10, a 323-passenger aircraft that is now being shown to airlines.
Boeing is expected to launch this program before the end of the year.
More on CNN: First look at the Airbus A350 XWB