22 OCTOBER 2012
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Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker, confirmed in a speech to the Aviation Club in London last week that the airline’s first Boeing Dreamliner will debut on the Doha – Heathrow route in December.
The outspoken CEO also said Qatar Airways was “working Boeing hard”, and delivery of five of the carrier’s 60-strong fleet of Dreamliners is now expected before the end of the year.
Qatar currently serves London five times-daily, and Al Baker said there is “demand for further expansion on the route”, but warned that this would require a relaxation in current bilateral constraints, and improved slot availability.
He also confirmed that the carrier is looking at opportunities for new routes across the UK, where Qatar is not constrained by bilateral agreements, but stressed that “Heathrow is a magnet that cannot be ignored”.
On the subject of Qatar joining oneworld, Al Baker said the carrier “looks forward to working with our new partners across the world”, and when asked by Business Travel News why Qatar had chosen the oneworld alliance, he said that oneworld chose Qatar, not the other way around, joking “we never go to parties uninvited”. www.qatarairways.com www.aviationclub.org.uk
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