Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker has confirmed that the carrier will begin a retrofit of its business class product on its long-haul fleet in 24 months' time.
Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Al Baker said that the airline was planning the retrofit to ensure that its business class "remained the best in the world".
Answering questions on first class, and whether after seeing Etihad’s announcement on first class (see news, May 5) he would reconsider his opinion that the cabin had only limited business appeal, he said: "I don't think there will be a return for the first class cabin.
"Our premium travel is business travel, mostly, so we will keep a very limited number of first class seats, only in the A380, and all the other airplanes will only have a business class product.
"We are developing a new seat which will be called super business class, and this will be introduced in just over 24 months' time, and this will replace our current herringbone seats."
Note that Emirates has responded to the Etihad announcements by confirming that it too is planning a "bedroom" concept for its new first class.