On the 31st of January Brussels Airport welcomed the first Qatar Airways flight amid great interest. The airline will operate a five weekly service between Brussels and Doha, the capital of Gulf State Qatar.
Flights are carried out using an Airbus 330 that features the characteristic head of an oryx, a desert antelope, on its tail. In terms of in-flight service Qatar Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines.
Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Transport Etienne Schouppe and Prime Minister Yves Leterme attended the inaugural ceremony. As did Herman De Croo (former Minister of Transport and former Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies) and the legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx, in his capacity as co-organiser of the annual Tour of Qatar, which is to start on Sunday.
The planned “baptism” by the fire services, which is traditionally performed to welcome the inaugural flight, had to be cancelled. After all, it would hardly be wise to spray the aircraft and the apron when the temperature is below zero. Luckily the Belgian air force amply compensated for this. As part of an interception drill two F16 fighter jets awaited the Airbus when it entered our airspace and accompanied it to our airport.
In his speech Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, announced Qatar’s intention to up the frequency on this service from five to seven a week as of this summer.