See the new Qatar A380 first class interior

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Qatar, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-03-2014

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Qatar A380 First ClassQatar Airways have revealed the interior of their soon to be delivered Airbus A380s. Their first aircraft has recently been seen in testing.

With a customised interior meeting the high demand specifications of Qatar Airways, the airline´s new A380s will undoubtedly be the talk of aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike when the first aircraft enters service this year, the first of 13 such aircraft on order.

The new First Class A380 seat, revealed by Mr. Al Baker at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Berlin, Mr Klaus Wowereit as Guest of Honour, features a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of entertainment options displayed on individual 26-inch television screens.

A380 Qatar maiden flight

Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “It is a landmark moment to see this fantastic new First Class A380 seat displayed here at ITB Berlin, the perfect event at which to announce such important innovations to our global audience. Operating on the Doha to London Heathrow route, this cabin will offer a new level of comfort for passengers travelling to the United Kingdom, who will also benefit from our Premium Terminal in Doha and the new Qatar Airways Premium Lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The arrival this year of the airline´s first A380 marks a significant milestone for the airline, whose future home, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has been specially designed to cater to the aircraft, with six contact gates designed with specifications required for the superjumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which will be the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.

In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’s launch customer.

The A380 will enter service between Doha and London Heathrow this summer.

Boeing 777X officially launches with Dubai orders

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airline News, Dubai, Germany, Middle East, North America, Qatar, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-11-2013

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Boeing 777-8X & 777-9XBoeing has officially launched its new 777X aircraft having now received numerous orders for the type at the Dubai Air Show.

Orders for the 777X now stands at 259 examples. New orders in Dubai have come from Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways.

Representing the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value, 777X orders and commitments include Lufthansa with 34 airplanes; Etihad Airways with 25; Qatar Airways with 50 and Emirates with 150 airplanes. The combined value of the agreements is more than $95 billion at list prices.

“We are proud to partner with each of these esteemed airlines to launch the 777X – the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jetliner in the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “Its ground-breaking engine technologies and all-new composite wing will deliver unsurpassed value and growth potential to our customers.”

The 777X builds on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777, which today commands 55 percent of market share in its category in terms of backlog, and 71 percent of the in-service fleet worldwide. The 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

Qatar Airways A380 flies

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Qatar, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 10-09-2013

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 © Airbus S.A.S 2013

Qatar Airways‘ first Airbus A380 has performed its maiden flight from Toulouse ahead of a planned delivery in 2014.

Between now and delivery it will fly to Hamburg for interior and cabin outfitting.

Qatar Airways plans to fly its A380s from Doha to London Heathrow and other principal destinations. It has 13 of the type on order.

Qatar Airways 787s coming to Scandinavia

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Denmark, Middle East, Norway, Qatar, Spotting News, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 13-06-2013

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Qatar 787Qatar Airways has announced that it will introduce its Boeing 787s on services from Doha to Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm Arlanda.

The flights commence on 1st August to Stockholm, and 1st September to both Copenhagen and Oslo.

Flights will operate daily.

Keep an eye on our 787 Routes Page for destinations you can see the Dreamliner.

Three new Qatar Airways destinations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Asia, Ethiopia, Middle East, North America, Philippines, Qatar, USA | Posted on 06-05-2013

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Qatar 777 (c) Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways has announced it will commence flights from its Doha base to Philadelphia, Addis Ababa, and Clark in the Philippines.

The link to Philadelphia will be flown by a Boeing 777-300 aircraft, and comes after previous rumours suggested Atlanta, Boston or Detroit would be the next US destination. The route is expected to start in summer 2014.

The route to Clark – an alternative to Manila Airport in the Philippines – is in competition with Emirates who operate a daily service from Dubai.

New Doha Airport opening on 1 April

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Qatar | Posted on 10-02-2013

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Doha's New AirportDoha’s new Hamad International Airport will open its gates for the first time on 1 April.

Replacing the cramped and outdated Doha International Airport which suffers from limited space and a single runway, the new facility will gradually be expanded as more phases of construction are worked on.

When it opens in April, 12 international airlines will transfer to the new airport.

Qatar Airways will transfer its entire operation to the new Doha airport in the second half of 2013 once extra terminal facilities such as lounges have been completed.

Hamad International Airport has two parallel runways, and a central terminal with various concourses. It will eventually have a capacity for 50 million passengers per year.

Qatar Dreamliner coming to London in December

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Qatar, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 26-11-2012

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Qatar Airways has confirmed the date its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will begin serving London Heathrow.

A daily flight will be operated from Doha to Heathrow from 13th December, 2013. It arrives at Heathrow at 1105, and departs at 1505.

Qatar are currently flying their aircraft, which was delivered recently, on short flights to Dubai and Kuwait to aid in crew familiarisation. London will be the first long haul destination the type flies on.

 

To keep up to date with the routes airlines will be flying their 787 Dreamliners on, check out the Boeing 787 Routes page, which is updated regularly!

Ethiopian’s expansion plans

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Dubai, Ethiopia, Middle East, Qatar, Spotting News | Posted on 20-08-2012

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Ethiopian Airlines 757

As Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft this week – only the third airline to do so – it has outlined plans to expand its fleet and home base dramatically over the coming years.

The airline has 14 aircraft due for delivery this year, including more 787s, as well as Boeing 737-800s, Dash 8 Q400s, and Boeing 777 freighters.

Ethiopian has also announced it is considering purchasing either 737 Max or Airbus A320neo aircraft as part of its intentions to increase its fleet to 120 aircraft by 2025.

To complement these plans, Ethiopian Airlines is hoping to make its Addis Ababa Airport base a worldwide hub along the lines of those in Dubai and Doha, where passengers would arrive from one side of the world and transfer to flights heading to the other side of the world.

Ethiopian’s unique selling point is its strong coverage of emerging markets in Africa, which the Middle Eastern carriers have been slower to reach.

Whether this happens is still very much up in the air, as most consider Addis Ababa to be inferior to many Western and Middle Eastern hub airports, and Ethiopian’s existing fleet of Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft are starting to look long in the teeth.

Middle East Airports for the plane spotter

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Airport Spotting Guide, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Middle East, Qatar, Sharjah | Posted on 26-03-2012

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The Middle East – particularly around the United Arab Emirates – has become a major aviation hub, particularly with east-west travel and the rise of the big carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways. But what’s the difference between the many airports from an aviation enthusiast’s perspective? Here are some observations and highlights…

 

 

Dubai
By far the busiest and most profitable airport in the region for the spotter. Dubai is a large airport, home base for Emirates, and visited by major airlines from around the world. It is still frequented by some older and Russian jets, and the constant sunshine makes it great for the photographer. BUT, you’ll have to splash out for the rooftop area of the Sheraton Deira Hotel, as there aren’t many good vantage points around the airport. Always be careful, as spotters still get unwelcome attention from authorities if they are seen brandishing cameras and binoculars in public.

Sharjah
Not too far from Dubai, Sharjah has turned itself into the region’s main low-cost airport. The days of smoking Russian aircraft and older generation Western jets are largely gone now, but you can still see the occasional interesting movement.

The airport still has airside tours available, but they are now quite expensive. Book through the airport’s website: http://www.shj-airport.gov.ae/

Doha
Doha is the rising star in the region. Its infrastructure is still quite basic, but it is expanding at quite a pace. Its home airline is Qatar Airways, who have a mixed medium- and long-haul fleet which flies in a similar wave pattern to Emirates at Dubai.

The only real places to spot here are inside the terminal, which has some windows at either end for passengers.

Bahrain
Home of Gulf Air, Bahrain is one of the older airports in the region, but is undergoing significant upgrades and expansion. It is served by a large number of passenger and cargo airlines, but not nearly as busy as Dubai or Doha.

Spotting is quite difficult. One option is the park near the end of Runway 30, or the waterside area near the end of runway 12.

Kuwait
This airport is also undergoing a massive terminal expansion. Home to Kuwait Airways, it is not as busy as the other Middle East airports mentioned, but still worth a look.  There are some views close to the runway ends, and within the terminal.

Things will improve with the new terminal when it opens.
Abu Dhabi
The second largest airport in the UAE, and served by home airline Etihad’s large fleet. Like other nearby airports, it operates a wave pattern of flights – many of which arrive late at night.

Spotting is possible from the roads at either end of the runways, but this can often arouse suspicion. Inside the terminal, the cafe area before security has views over the aprons and runways. Just be careful flashing equipment around with security present.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787 plan

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Heathrow, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Qatar, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 10-03-2012

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Qatar Airways‘ first Boeing 787s are in the final assembly stage. I saw them on the production line on my tour of the Boeing Everett factory in February, resplendent with stickers showing the airline’s logo.

The picture here (credit Qatar Airways) is of the aircraft, released by the airline.

Qatar’s Boeing 787′s are due to enter the fleet this summer, and the airline has announced their route plans for the type.

Initially the 787 will fly to short-haul regional destinations in the Gulf from the airline’s Doha base, giving crews the chance to get familiar with the aircraft. It will then enter service on the flagship Doha – London Heathrow route.

For those of you who can’t wait, the aircraft will be part of the static display at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, in July.