Qatar to restart Boeing 787

By David Flynn, April 26 2013
Qatar to restart Boeing 787

Qatar Airways aims to bring the Boeing 787 Dreamliner back to Australian skies, resurrecting the plans for a daily Perth-Doha service plus a 787 spin on the Kangaroo Route which will let passengers fly Boeing’s next-gen jetliner all the way through to London.

Qatar cancelled the launch of the Perth-Doha Boeing 787 service just two weeks before its scheduled February 1st start, as the Gulf carrier joined other airlines around the world in grounding the 787 after a series of critical overheating problems with the lithium-ion battery system.

However, following a series of design changes by Boeing which include containment and venting systems for both the main and auxiliary batteries, Qatar is keen to see its 787s hauled out of the hanger and put back into service.

This will include Qatar’s QR901 service from Perth to Doha switching from a Boeing 777 to a Boeing 787, although the airline has yet to name a new date for the Dreamliner’s delayed Australian debut.

Read: Why business travellers will love Boeing's 787 Dreamliner

A Qatar Airways spokesman told Australian Business Traveller that the airline has pencilled in May 15 for the recommencement of the dedicated Doha-London Boeing 787 QR75 service.

Australian travellers arriving into Doha on QR901 at 5.20am will be able to transfer to QR75, which leaves Doha 6.40am to continue their 787 journey through to London’s Heathrow airport.

Despite a tight 1h20m timing between the two flights, a Qatar Airways spokesman assured Australian Business Traveller that “this connection is correct and it’s very bookable.”

“Doha is very efficient in moving passengers from aircraft to aircraft and the passengers will make the connection easily” he said, adding a little positive spin that “the best thing about it (is) there’s no waiting around.”

Inside Qatar Airway's Boeing 787

The 22 business class seats nestled in the nose of Qatar's Dreamliner adopt a passenger-pleasing 1-2-1 layout with fully flat beds and direct aisle access for every passenger.

The cabin is bright, modern and streamlined – and in common with other 787 customers, Qatar has skipped a super-luxe first class: their Dreamliners contain only business and economy cabins.

AusBT contributor David Parker Brown (who also runs snapped these these real-world photos at Qatar's 787 launch.

Like just about every modern airliner, Boeing's 787 has LED overhead lighting that's a big improvement on the fluorescent tubes used in older planes.

And it's not just about the accent lighting: waking up gently with a slowly brightening, sunrise-hued cabin is much more pleasant than the single flick-to-glaring lights we remember from older jets. 

Angling towards the windows (or centre dividers, which you can raise or lower depending on whether you want to interact with the person next to you), each seat is private and spacious, with cleverly designed multi-level storage and work surfaces.

The 22-inch (56 cm) seat reclines to a fully flat 80 inches (203 cm), with your feet sliding underneath the monitor. The armrest also slides down so you have a wider sleeping area.

With the centre divider down, you can share ideas with colleagues or spend some quality time with a +1 over dinner, or use the large work table to put the final touches to a slide deck on your laptop.

Tight fit in Qatar's 787 economy cabin

Down the back in economy, it's a different scene: Qatar drew up an elbow-crunching 3-3-3 layout.

This means that each seat is narrower than Boeing's alternative option of an an eight-across 2-4-2 configuration. And these seats are narrow, even for economy.

With their generous legroom, the front rows are the obvious seats to pick.

A massive video screen -- with its own Android phone-sized controller -- might take your mind off the tight elbow-room.

Boeing's extra-large 787 Dreamliner windows are a benefit for the window seat seat passenger (and anyone trying to peer past them for a glimpse of what's outside).

Like all 787s, Qatar's also has electronic dimming windows.

However, we reckon many travellers woud trade those windows for a spot in the 787's 'secret' crew rest area where pilots and flight attendants take their scheduled breaks from duty.

Perched above the passengers and overhead bins, this cosy loft space is accessible by a small ladder leading up from the main deck.

See: Cool photos from inside the Boeing 787's funky crew rest 'loft'

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

That's great! I was supposed to be flying on one of the 787s last month but they were cancelled, can't wait to try Qatar's business class. I am surprised to see Qatar's lack of effort in making a good economy seat but the Andorid system will probably make up for it.


22 Oct 2012

Total posts 318

I just can't imagine flying in a 787 until they at least discover the cause of the onboard fires that these planes have experienced.  I think I'm correct in saying that the FAA regulations are that lithium batteries may not be carried in checked luggage due to the risk of fire, yet they're allowed to be used in powering the APU at the rear of the plane, and also under the flight deck.

When the NTSB discovers the cause of the fires, or Boeing replaces the lithium battery system with another technology, I'll consider my chances then.  Until then, I won't take my chances flying in a plane over oceans with a battery that is likely to catch fire, with a ducting system to the outside to remove the smoke and toxic fumes that will be generated.  How long will such a fire burn for without causing other problems?

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

I'm with you Phil. Media reports have told us that neither boeing nor the battery manufacturers have been able to work out what actually caused the fires, so the changes that have been authorised by the NTSB have been put in place to CONTROL any fire that occurs, rather than avoid it in the first place.

For that reason, my flying will generally be confined to A380s or 777s in the meantime as I'd rather just be a viewer of Air Crash Investigations, than playing a starring role!

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

Where is the Kangaroo Route info? The Kangaroo route never went to Perth.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Longreach, as fas as I understand it, "Australia to the UK" is the Kangaroo Route, it's usually Sydney-London or Melbourne-London but that doesn't exclude any other Aussie city.

27 Dec 2012

Total posts 3

Hang on chaps......OK we don't have 787s BUT Qatar operate 10 services a week into Manchester Airport using A330,B777.

It isn't all about Heathrow infact many potential passengers who used to use London are now flying with QATAR, ETIHAD and EMIRATES.

If I had the choice I think I would travel North and use these flights rather than take a chance just yet on 787!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Aug 2012

Total posts 9

Ha! It's only a 1hr 05min connection on the return...


06 Nov 2012

Total posts 46

Still can you imagine sitting in the middle seat of a 3-3-3 configuratiuon for 11 hours with the huge video screen reclined a few centimeters from your face and larger than average people on either side of you? I think that's tantamount to torture.

Still, it seems to be the norm on 787 cattle class - is anybody not flying 3-3-3?

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

That's why I will only take an aisle seat when I'm sitting in cattle-class on any plane. At 6'3" tall, there's no other option that won't drive me insane.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Apr 2013

Total posts 14

I am flying Perth-Paris with Qatar on June 21. What do you think the chances are of me getting the 787 to Doha?


06 Nov 2012

Total posts 46

QR website is still showing this flight on 777, but if they're reinstating the 787 DOH-LHR on 15 May I think the chances of getting one in PER by the end of June would be pretty good.

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