Qatar to unveil luxury Airbus

14 Sep 2006 by business traveller

Fast-growing Qatar Airways has just taken delivery of the first of a fleet of Airbus A340-600s. And this aircraft is set to appear on the carrier's flagship Doha-London Heathrow route before the end of this month.

Unlike other carriers operating this long range plane, Qatar Airways is adopting a luxurious three-class configuration with dedicated onboard first and business class lounges.

Qatar has ordered 10 of these planes and they will be delivered to the Doha-based airline over the next two years. Each A340-600 accommodates 266 passengers comprising eight in first class (configured 1-2-1), 42 in business class (2-2-2) and 216 in economy class (2-4-2). This is one of the most spacious configurations in the air.

Exact comparisons with other airlines is difficult because configurations vary. But Lufthansa, another A340-600 operator, accommodates 345 passengers in a two-class configuration comprising 66 in business and 279 in economy class.

Inflight entertainment will extend to live TV with Qatar becoming the first international airline to provide passengers with live streaming of a number of channels direct to their seatback TV systems.

Says Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar Al Baker, "The A340 is our first four-engined aircraft. We are the first Middle East airline to offer passengers dedicated onboard first and business class lounges. This wonderful aircraft will be used on a number of long-haul routes from Doha such as London Heathrow, Osaka and the US East Coast."

The highlight will be the lounge in first class enabling passengers to relax and eat in the comfort of their very own special area. The lounge features a stand-up bar with drinks rack and spotlight mood lighting.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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