Qatar Airways pares Chicago service after 787 grounding

Gulf carrier reduces capacity on route due to launch on April 10; also scraps route to Chinese city
Qatar Airways pares Chicago service after 787 grounding
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner (AFP/Getty Images).
By Daniel Shane
Sun 03 Mar 2013 05:18 PM

Qatar Airways, the Gulf state's flag carrier, has reduced capacity on its as yet to be launched Chicago route following the grounding of its entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

In a statement published on Sunday the airline said that the Chicago service, which was was due to launch on April 10, would initially operate on a three-times-a-week schedule from its hub in Doha, rather than planned daily flights. Qatar Airways said it would increase frequency to a daily a service from June 15.

The airline was also due to launch a three-times-a-week service to the Chinese city of Chengdu from March 19, but said that this route would be postponed until a later date.

“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," CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.

The airline grounded its fleet of 787 Dreamliners in January, just hours after regulators in India, Japan, Europe and the United States did likewise amid safety concerns, after a second incident involving battery failure caused one of the Dreamliner passenger jets to make an emergency landing.

The Doha-based airline, which currently has a fleet of five 787 planes, has 30 firm orders plus an option on acquiring 30 more.

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