The world’s most advanced plane is finally set to take off from Heathrow. Qatar Airways will announce tomorrow that the first scheduled departure of the Boeing 787 from Europe’s busiest airport is set for 3.05pm on 14 December.
The so-called “Dreamliner”, owned by Qatar Airways, will begin daily flights from Heathrow to Doha – but only on one departure a day. The remaining four are conventional aircraft. The launch had been set for September, but late delivery from the manufacturer delayed it. The plane is currently shuttling between Doha and Dubai four times a day, enabling crews to become familiar with the aircraft, with a special fare of £100 return on offer. Fares for the debut flight from Heathrow are much higher, as many of the seats are earmarked for dignitaries and media.
The 787 promises a dramatic improvement in passenger comfort, with more space, bigger windows and air pressurised at only 6,000 feet rather than the more usual 8,000 feet. The plane entered service in Japan a year ago, three-and-a-half years beyond Boeing’s original schedule.
The first advertised departure by a UK airline is on 1 May next year, when Thomson Airways starts flying from East Midlands and Gatwick to Cancun and Orlando.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also have orders for the new jet, but have not revealed exactly when - or to where – they will fly the 787.