Qatar Airways used the platform of the world’s largest aerospace event, the Farnborough International Air Show in Hampshire, to show off the interiors of its next generation aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The show, held every two years, registered orders totalling £30bn in 2010, although aviation analysts predict this year’s edition will be unlikely to top that figure.
There is clearly demand from the Middle East, however, and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said his airline would take delivery of five 787s during 2012.
Baker said that Farnborough was the ideal platform to showcase the latest addition to Qatar Airways’ modern fleet to the travel industry, media and the wider public for the first time.
“This is a proud moment for Qatar Airways and my country. We have continued to push the boundaries and set new standards in global aviation for more than a decade to create a world class airline,” he said.
The first-time presence of the Dreamliner at Farnborough follows on from the UK debut of the airline’s 787 Business Class seats at the Business Travel Market in London last month, as well as their international debut at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair, and Middle East travel show, Arabian Travel Market, in recent weeks.
The seat design is revolutionary with Business Class configured 1-2-1, featuring 22 seats that convert into fully flat horizontal beds, while the 232-seat Economy cabin has a 3-3-3 layout.
Key features include an iTouch control unit, over 1,000 movies, programming and audio entertainment options, an iPort, USB port and remote data outlet, all available in every seat across both cabin classes.
Qatar Airways, which now has a fleet of 109 aircraft, will fly the 787 on its long-haul debut between Doha and London Heathrow later this summer.
The airline currently has orders worth over US$50bn for 250 aircraft.
Russian Helicopters is another company using the event to target the Middle East market, presenting the latest additions to its range, including the international debut of the Ka-62.
Despite the weather, Farnborough is expecting to attract 250,000 trade and public visitors before it ends on 15 July.
Prime Minister David Cameron opened the show, which has attracted 83 trade and military delegations from 43 countries.
Boeing stole a march on its great rival Airbus on the opening day of the event with the announcement that it had landed a deal worth £8bn for 100 of its Dreamliner planes. Airbus, which employs 4,000 staff at its factory in Filton, did later announce it had won a potential £3.5bn order for its A350 passenger jet.
A further 48,000 viewers have been able to feel part of the show experience via live streaming from Videobuilder. The company is streaming for client Flightglobal from 2pm to 4pm each day over a temporary network installed by DB Systems.
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