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Qatar Airways takes 25th Dreamliner, becomes world's No. 2 airline for 787s

USA Today  2015-11-06 19:46:10

AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideQatar Airways took delivery of its two new Boeing 787 Dreamliners Wednesday in Everett, Wash.The delivery of the jets -- the carrier's 24th and 25th 787s -- have pushed Qatar Airways past both United Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) to make it the world's second-largest airline operator of the aircraft. United and JAL each have 23 Dreamliners in their fleets. Japan's All Nippon Airways has the most, with more than 40 in its fleet.Qatar Airways? CEO Akbar Al Baker was on hand for the dual delivery, calling it a "milestone" for the carrier.BOOKMARK: Go directly to the Today in the Sky homepageUSA TODAYQatar Airways ramps up U.S. presence, adds 3 new routesUSA TODAYQatar Airways now biggest shareholder in British Air parentThe Doha-based carrier took its first Dreamliner in 2012, when it became the first Middle East carrier to fly the plane. Qatar Airways has five more 787s on firm order, along with options for up to 30 more.The airline will show off its 25th 787 at this year?s Dubai Airshow starting this weekend before it goes into scheduled passenger service.Qatar Airways has been a big buyer of Boeing jets, currently operating 46 Boeing 777 widebody jets in addition to its growing 787 fleet. Qatar Airways' existing 777s already are scheduled to start being replaced starting later this decade as the carrier begins taking Boeing's next-generation 777X model of the aircraft. Qatar Airways has more than 50 of those on order.USA TODAYScenes from Qatar Airways' Airbus A350 delivery flightUSA TODAYRatings: Qatar Airways named world's best airline for 2015Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, second from right, and Ray Conner of Boeing perform a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the airline's 25th Boeing 787 (seen in the background) on Nov. 4, 2015, in Everett, Wash. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)The new 787s are helping fuel Qatar Airways' aggressive expansion, which has seen it add numerous new destinations across the globe. In the USA, Qatar Airways has announced new service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia. Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles during the past three years.Of course, the additions have not come without controversy. Delta, American and United -- the three biggest U.S. airlines -- contend Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad -- the three big "Gulf carriers" -- are unfairly propped up with government aid and subsidies. That, say the U.S. airlines, have allowed the Gulf carriers to flood the U.S. markets with excess demand and cheap fares. The Gulf carriers have vigorously denied those claims.Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren is a Seattle-based photojournalist and aviation writer and a contributor to Ben Mutzabaugh's Today in the Sky blog. You also can follow Jeremy on Twitter at @photoJDL.Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1iIaocQ

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