Touching down at JFK on Tuesday was a Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB, the first commercial A350 to ever grace its wheels upon United States soil. From airport workers, to avid plane spotters everyone was talking, and posting on social media in regards to the arrival. The chatter continues to revolve around who was on the airplane and what exactly they are here to accomplish along with the aircraft itself which is the latest rendition of Airbus’ widebody fleet. We now know that amongst other special passengers and media representatives was the Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, of Qatar Airways and the CEO of Airbus, Fabrice Bragger.
What brings two well-known aviation professionals to the crossroads of the world? Well it appears to be Qatar’s new tagline and campaign – Going Places Together. After achieving the Airline of the Year Award for both 2011 and 2012, according to Baker, “Qatar Airways has won the confidence in the traveling public.”
This confidence may be the fuel for their moxie in the new announcement. Going Places Together is in some way a reward for the company but more importantly its passengers. With the airline expanding, its officials felt that it was necessary to let its future and current customers know that they no longer want to be just part of the commute. The CEO recognizes that “travel itself has changed; it has become a process of enrichment…self-discovery…life changing moments and fulfilling ambitions.”
The airline said in a press release that it wanted to release a campaign that reflected “Its core values as [an airline] that wants nothing more than to inspire its passengers to [go places].” It’s important to note that the airline held this press conference in New York City, where JetBlue is the hometown airline. Its mission is to inspire humanity and it proudly stands on its core values and makes them public: safety, caring, integrity, passion, and fun.
Qatar appears to be going for a different goal where “its about going places – literally and figuratively,” according to Bakar. They appear to be doing that with the Airbus A350. The CEO of Airbus agrees that “the A350 is the aircraft of choice in its category and set to become a reference among passengers for its unrivaled cabin comfort and quietness.” It unfortunately, got really quiet on takeoff as the airline departed New York City with executives and media aboard. Zach Honig’s camera was rolling when the A350 performed an accidental self-aborted takeoff. This is according to the CCO who updated the startled reporter.
Check out Zach’s video:
In the end, the flight departed JFK and landed safely in DOH.
Before 2016, Qatar Airways is expected to take delivery of its eighth A350. New Yorkers will have to wait until April of next year for the aircraft’s arrival while those in Philadelphia have less than a month left of wait time. It’s taking off on New Years, from the Keystone State. If you reside in LAX, BOS, or ATL, you’re in luck Qatar will begin flights to your city in January, March, and June in prospective order.
Although the airplane and its passengers are wheels down in Doha, they left quite a bit of turbulence here in the United States, especially with Delta Air Lines CEO, Richard Anderson. USA Today reported that Bakar stood firmly on his words after saying “‘Let [Anderson] come face to face with me in any forum, and I will hang him on a wall.” This was a heated reply to Delta’s asking of the United States Government to “limit flights from the Gulf carriers.” Obviously, Bakar is not going down without a fight as USA Today reported that he is willing to drop out of the oneworld Alliance if things don’t work out with American carriers enrolled in the program.
All in all, you may want to fly on Qatar to take in that new airplane smell, and embark on a new journey.
BONUS: Watch as Qatar’s A350 arrives in the United States for the first time
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