It had been thought that Qatar Airways was “going cool” on first class because of supposedly reduced demand in the current economic climate.
As a result the top tier product is not being installed in the Doha-based carrier’s new fleet of B777 aircraft while Qatar’s existing planes are either having first class removed (in the case of the A330s) or else will eventually be retired (as in the case of the A340-600s).
But according to respected industry publication Aviation Week, Qatar Airways is making an about turn as regards its forthcoming A380 superjumbos.
According to the carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker, the A380 will be configured in three classes with 517 seats. “It will be the only model [in our fleet] which will have a first class cabin,” the CEO told Aviation Week, “it will have eight seats.”
Qatar Airways has ordered five A380s the first of which will be delivered in 2013 by which time the new Doha airport will have opened.
Installing a small first class cabin on the A380 makes sense. The super jumbo is the most prestigious aircraft in any carrier’s fleet so it makes sense to show it off especially as the A380 is intended to ply Qatar’s prime but busy routes.
Seating details are not yet available but it would be a surprise if Qatar Airways were not to offer a product which did not match the high standards being set by rivals such as Emirates of Dubai and SIA of Singapore.
For more information go to qatarairways.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter