On Monday the 12th of November 2012, Qatar Airways took delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner at a special ceremony at Boeing Field (BFI) in Seattle. Held in the 3-390 Hangar at Boeing Field the event was an extravagant ceremony for an airline that has one of the youngest and most technically advanced fleets in the world.
The event began with a mystery arrival into the hangar where an Arabian style oasis could be found as guests mingled and waited for the main event. A press conference was held at the ceremony by not only Boeing and Qatar Airways but also the Ambassador to Qatar.
Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, heralded this momentous event while being bombarded by questions from the global media including Flightglobal, Aviation Week, USA Today, Al Jazeera, and also the local news media as well such as King 5 News Seattle (and of course a select few web bloggers). With financial delivery having being made a week or so earlier (as evidenced by flight QR999 from Everett to Victorville to continue its fit out) rather than the usual signing of paperwork a short gift swapping ceremony was completed to signify the handover of the aircraft.
With the press conference completed a short Promotion Video put together by Qatar Airways to show off their 787 was shown before the big moment. A white sheet was lowered and there standing proud behind it was A7-BCB, the first Qatar Airways 787. After a quick ribbon cutting ceremony by the dignitaries, we were invited on-board and it was like a being a kid in a candy store.
Everyone swarmed the aircraft, trying out the seats, seeing the larger windows evident on all 787 aircraft and anticipating the first flight the next day. The 787 configured for a longer haul routes was a sight to behold. Cutting edge In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), new tailor made and designed seats by Recaro and the latest in Wi-Fi connectivity by OnAir, the shiny new airplane just screamed out to everyone.
With thousands of photos taken of both the interior, exterior, candid shots, poses by media, special guests, staff who built the aircraft, we were all back on the buses for the delivery dinner. Heading away from Boeing Field (soon to return though) and heading for Seattle Center and Chihuly Gardens.
The dinner was a relaxed, fine evening with a menu that was focused on local, seasonal produce, plenty of fine wine and drinks and some relaxing and mingling by the guests. This was the culmination of so much hard work and effort by so many people who worked tirelessly to get to this day that they were all in the mood to celebrate and honor as well some of those who made huge efforts into getting this aircraft to this point.
The night drew to a close with many tired heads as we were bussed back to respective hotels. The journey was only just beginning for me, but for some, tomorrow would show the end of a journey that had begun five years earlier when Qatar Airways signed the contract for their first of 60 787s.
Stay tuned for the rest of Malcolm’s adventure as he flies in Business Class on Qatar Airway’s first 787 Dreamliner to Doha.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.