Qatar to delay Houston launch

9 Oct 2008 by Mark Caswell

Qatar Airways is delaying the launch of its non-stop Doha to Houston flights until next year, due to the ongoing Boeing strike.

The carrier was to launch flights on December 8 using new Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, the first of which is due for delivery in November. But the month-old machinists strike at Boeing has caused enough uncertainty for Qatar to delay the launch until March 30 next year.

Al Baker, Qatar’s CEO, said of the delay:

“There is no possibility of being able to operate the Houston route as planned due to the unfortunate events at Boeing so we decided to shift the launch date to a more reasonable time in March next year. This way, we can be assured of having available the required long-range aircraft to serve Houston.

“We are committed to serving Houston and have worked tirelessly over the past few months, injecting tremendous effort and energy in preparing for a December launch.

“Qatar Airways is taking all steps necessary to contact passengers who have booked tickets to and from Houston and assist them with making alternative travel arrangements.”

Qatar says that the launch of its Doha-New York JFK flights on October 26 will still go ahead, as it has been given assurances by Boeing that it’s fourth 777-300ER, to be used on this route, will be delivered on time.

The Boeing strike has affected a number of carriers, with V Australia having to delay its launch, and Rynair cancelling flights from Birmingham due to delayed delivery of aircraft (see online news October 6).

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Report by Mark Caswell

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