Qatar Airways, another of the new giants of world aviation, is stalking the Australia market, currently with 777s, shortly with 787s, and before much longer, perhaps with its A350s and A380s. Airbus photo near the Hamburg A380 paint shop The blurred image of Airbus employees walking past the newly painted vertical tail fin for a Qatar Airway’s A380 is more than apt for a carrier stranded in its Australian ambitions by lack of ‘appropriate’ access at Sydney and the 787 grounding which stopped it launching Dreamliner services between Doha and Perth in February. Qatar is one of the newly minted economic powerhouse carriers of the Middle East and currently serves Melbourne as well as Perth with Boeing 777-200LRs. The sticking point at Sydney was recently reported as its jet curfew, which means no Qatar flights for it for as long as it takes for a second Sydney airport, curfew free, to open, so we look forward to emissaries from the office of NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, heading off to Doha to convince it that the fast train trip to and from Canberra airport at the beginning or end of a 14 hour flight will be no problem at all. The Dreamliner problem will be solved a lot sooner. Later this week the FAA will issue a detailed directive as to how it recommends 787s can be returned to service once a super fire box it has approved is fitted so that they can handle heavy duty lithium-ion battery fires for as long it takes for them to burn through out. That will make them ideal for the Doha-Perth run. The non-stop services to Melbourne will presumably continue to be flown by 777-200LRs, since the sector it is sufficiently long and increasingly congested around the gulf to mess with range/payload options for the larger 777-300ERs. Qatar has eight A380s on order for delivery from early next year, as well as its interrupted timetable for getting up to 30 Boeing 787-8s delivered in the near term. It is also the launch customer for the Airbus A350, with first deliveries of up to 43 of the A350-900 model starting in the second half of next year. An additional 37 of the larger A350-1000 model are due later this decade, making the 80 A350 family order the largest yet placed by a single airline. Source: Crickeyau, Ben Sandilands
Gravity always wins!