Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker has confirmed that the carrier will unveil a new business class next year, despite its current fully-flat bed in business class being less than two years old. The move will come immediately after the carrier’s move from T3 to T4 at London Heathrow and the opening of its own lounge at London Heathrow in the first quarter of next year (2011).
Speaking with Business Traveller at Farnborough Air Show, Mr Al Baker said that when Qatar Airways moves from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4 in November 2010, the carrier will be in the final stages of completing its new lounge for both business and first class flyers.
At present Qatar Airways premium flyers use either the Cathay Pacific Lounge or the Virgin Atlantic Club House if flying first class.
For the early morning 0755 departures (QR18) however, the Virgin Clubhouse is not open and so all flyers use the Cathay lounge.
“Unfortunately the Virgin lounge is not open for our early morning flights so we have to use other carrier’s lounges,” said Mr Al Baker.
“When we move to Terminal 4 we will not have to use other people’s lounges, and we hope it will be ready before the first quarter 2011.”
Mr Al Baker also said that Qatar Airways is considering introducing its flagship B777-300ER aircraft on the London Doha route, though denied this was because flyers using the carrier to Doha and then on to destinations such as Sydney would see an inconsistent product in business class.
“It is not consistent, but they both have lie-flat seats in business class. When we have a new product on the B787, you will say it’s not consistent with that of the B777-300ER aircraft, but they are all excellent.”
Qatar Airways has orders for 60 Boeing 787 aircraft, with another pair of B777-200LR aircraft soon to arrive. At present the three pairings it already has are being used on ultra long haul routes from Doha (Melbourne, Houston and Sao Paulo/ Buenos Aires). Mr Al Baker would not comment on whether the new pair will be used to split the South American routes to make each a one-stop itinerary or would be used to launch a new route.