Showing posts from February 22, 2009

The Qatar Chronicles: From the Boeing Factory to the Desert

For the next week I'll be on a trip of a lifetime. With a group of writers from around the world, I am traveling to Seattle to tour the Boeing factory and pick up a new 777-200LR that will join Qatar Airways' 5-Star fleet. The airline begins nonstop, daily service between Houston and Doha on March 30, 2009. Normally Qatar Airways doesn't fly from Seattle. This is a delivery trip so besides our group, the certification team from Boeing and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, and the airline staff, we'll barely number 20 passengers on a plane that can seat 217 in coach and 42 in business.

The opportunity to go behind the scenes on the introduction of a new airplane into service is so unique, I'm going to post about the experience. Along the way I'm also going write about my visit to Seattle, a city I know and love but haven't seen for many years, and Doha, a city that is new to me and one I look forward to exploring.

Before we picked up the Triple-7 as …

Seattle to Doha on the Delivery Flight of a Boeing 777-200LR

I love the new car smell. Does an airplane have the same cool, sexy, absolutely fabulous fragrance as a car or is it something more, well, plane-like? Yesterday I had the unique pleasure of answering that question.

Qatar Airways invited half a dozen of us to come along on the delivery flight of their second Boeing 777-200LR, flying from Boeing Field outside Seattle to Doha International Airport, Qatar.

With Doha as its hub and routes already well established in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and, of course, the Middle East, the Boeing 777-200LR gives Qatar Airways a reach of 8,000 nautical miles, putting them in striking distance of just about any destination in the world.

Several years ago Qatar Airways pushed into the American market with non-stop service to New York and Washington, D.C. Starting March 30, 2009, the airline will begin flights between Houston and Doha. With service to Houston, they will strengthen their relationship with American energy businesses.

For the next yea…