Qatar Airways (chalet C27-28) chief executive Akbar Al Baker unveiled his new Boeing 787 during the opening day of the Farnborough air show, but he will have to wait a little longer to get his hands on his new toy.
The first of up to 60 787s that Qatar Airways has on order is being exhibited at the show and - unusually for a Boeing airliner - being flown in the daily flying display. But the aircraft will have to return to Seattle for final modifications prior to its official hand-over to Qatar Airways that is scheduled to take place in August.
Al Baker says he expects to put the first 787 into service immediately after delivery, initially on intra-Gulf services from Qatar's Doha hub. The 254-seater will then make its long-haul debut on London Heathrow services.
"We are thrilled to induct the Dreamliner into the Qatar Airways fleet," he said at the formal unveiling of the aircraft in the static park, attended by senior Boeing executives including new Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner. In a dig at Boeing over the delays that all 787 operators have suffered, Al Baker said: "It will be a very challenging year for you as you sort out all the customers that are less demanding than me."
The airline plans to take five of the twinjets this year, but is showing off the interior - complete with lie-flat seats in the business cabin - to a few select guests. Flightglobal will naturally be bringing you video of the interior, but in the meantime, you can check out our exclusive air-to-air video of the 787's Farnborough display by logging on at: flightglobal.com/farnborough