Qatar Airways has announced December 13 as the launch date of its first long-haul Boeing 787 commercial service from Doha to London Heathrow. The 787 Dreamliner will debut on the Heathrow route as Doha-based Qatar Airways becomes the first airline to operate regular scheduled flights to the UK with Boeing’s next generation aircraft. Qatar Airways took delivery of the first of 60 Dreamliners earlier this month with the second arriving over the weekend. Both aircraft are currently operating commercial flights on intra-Gulf routes to familiarise operating crew with the aeroplane before entering the long-haul market. The Dreamliner marks the start of an exciting new era for travellers worldwide with unparalleled levels of comfort and luxury onboard Boeing’s newest aircraft. Qatar Airways’ new addition to its fleet also heralds a fresh era for Middle East aviation with the carrier being the Boeing 787 launch customer in the region. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the maiden long-haul 787 service to London had been in the pipeline for some time. “We are delighted at last with today’s announcement that in just over two weeks’ time, the UK market will see its first 787 on a regular full commercial service when it flies into London Heathrow,” he said. “Inaugurating our 787 on the London Heathrow route puts Qatar Airways firmly on the global aviation map as a carrier with a determination to continue its expansion drive and improve an already superior in-flight product. Both new and existing customers in the UK and further afield on connecting flights will soon have an opportunity to fly on the most talked-about aircraft in the world in and out of London. We have already received our second 787 with a further three to join our fleet by the end of the year. And we won’t stop there. With more 787s being inducted into the fleet next year, further route launches and our move to a brand new international airport in Doha during 2013, we continue to look forward to another year of exciting developments,” he added. “With our ever-expanding international network, more people from different parts of the world will have an opportunity to fly Qatar Airways and our new 787s to and from our Doha hub,” said Al-Baker.