By Robeel Haq
Dreamliner set for global show tour in bid to drum up investor confidence after delays
Aerospace giant Boeing is set to launch a six-month international show tour of its 787 Dreamliner, as it moves to bolster investor confidence after the jetliner’s three-year delay.
The ‘Dream Tour’ will include some of the biggest buyers of the lightweight aircraft, including a stop in Qatar, and comes just weeks after the plane’s Middle East debut at the Dubai Airshow.
The Gulf state’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, has 30 787s on order and an option for 30 more, and will be the first regional airline to receive the jetliner with its first delivery in Q2, 2012.
Boeing said the ‘Dream Tour’ will take in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and will allow customers to experience the aircraft first-hand.
"The 787 Dreamliner is a game-changing airplane and we're delighted to bring this innovative product to our customers who will soon be receiving their own 787s," said Ray Conner, vice president of sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“This airplane is now changing the way the world flies, and we want to share that excitement with as many people as we can.”
The tour is scheduled to visit Doha between Dec 16-19, marking its only Middle East stop.
Boeing postponed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner seven times, resulting in a three-year delay, after grappling with new materials, engine supply disruptions and other problems.
More than 820 of the jets are on order to 55 airlines, including Gulf carriers Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Amman-based Royal Jordanian.
The US aircraft giant has promised the twin-engine plane will deliver a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, at a time of $100-plus oil.
The CEO of Qatar Airways has been outspoken in his criticism of the delays to the 787 programme and said in December he would consider cancelling the order if there were further delays in the plane’s delivery.
Akbar Al Baker has said the airline will customise the interiors of its 787 fleet with bespoke lighting and seating, as it seeks to win a larger share of the corporate travel market.
“Our Dreamliner will be the most luxurious in the sky, I can promise you that, although at this stage it’s not possible to reveal too much detail,” he said.