Qatar Airways has begun flying its Boeing 787 Dreamliners for the first time since they were grounded worldwide three months ago over battery problems.
CEO Akbar Al Baker, the first passenger to board the airline’s Dreamliner in Doha en route to Dubai, told reporters that his company would receive compensation from Boeing for the setback.
“We will get compensation because we took airplanes we couldn’t fly. Boeing understands that,” Al Baker said, as reported by Reuters. “The grounding of the 787 has really impacted Qatar’s expansion severely. This is impacting my bottom line,” Al Baker said, adding, “We were planning 15 new routes and now we have to settle for 10.”
The national carrier, which will add a longer service from Doha to London’s Heathrow on May 15, said it expects all five of its 787s to become operational before the end of this month.
In a statement, Al Baker said:
“Safety has always been the number one priority for Qatar Airways and I have full confidence in the safety and security of this aircraft.”
But he also told reporters:
“I still feel the aircraft should not have been grounded. I think there was reaction due to the unnecessary evacuation of a Japanese aircraft. People are too sensitive to what the social media says.”
Qatar Airways is the second airline to relaunch the Dreamliners, after Ethiopian Airlines, which recommenced passenger flights on Saturday.
The Gulf country’s national carrier expects to receive five more Dreamliners before the end of the year, and has ordered a total of 30 jets for some $207 million apiece.
Credit: Photos courtesy of Qatar Airways