The worldwide grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has had a knock-on effect on Qatar Airways‘ route expansion plans.
The airline has announced that it has decided to postpone the launch of flights to Chengdu, its sixth destination in China, which were due to begin on the 19th of this month.
The 787’s absence has also hit the launch of daily 777 passenger flights to Chicago, which are set to start on April 10.
The airline will now initially offer three flights a week, with a daily schedule planned to be in operation by June 15.
Passengers who are booked on canceled flights will be contacted by Qatar Airways and re-booked on alternative flights.
Qatar Airways’ fourth foray into the US was announced last August, along with a promise to expand the network to include three more US cities – Atlanta, Detroit and Boston.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker explained at the time of the announcement that the new routes would only become possible once the airline had taken delivery of the 787 Dreamliner.
The unexpected grounding of the fleet has left Qatar Airways with some tough choices to make, as the loss of capacity has squeezed its expansion plans considerably.
In a statement, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said:
“We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience of the capacity adjustments caused by the grounding of the 787s, which is out of our hands. We are making every effort to ensure our valued customers are aware of these service updates and are accommodated accordingly.”
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Credit: Chicago sky line at sunset by Kara Allyson