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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Qatar Plans 'Super Business Class'

"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," Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker revealed during a media briefing at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

Qatar's forthcoming Airbus A380 flagships – the first of which is due for delivery in May 31 with its inaugural flight to London in June – will likely be the airline's only jet boasting first class.

“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."

Despite British Airways, Etihad Airways and China Southern all offering first class cabins in their Boeing 787s, the outspoken Al Baker considers that first class is no longer about high-flying executives but rather the domain of cashed-up luxury travellers, and “today there is very low demand for first class.”

“People who used to travel in first class were high net worth individuals and mostly businessmen, companies that were doing windfall profits were making their executives happy,” Al Baker theorised during a media briefing at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

“But after the 2008 crash all the companies have reinvented their strategy on executive travel, and executive travellers moving back to first class will never happen, I don’t think.”

Qatar’s new first class cabin (below) appears only on its flagship Airbus A380s, which will begin flying to London on June 17.


But Al Baker remains wary of his airline’s ability to fill a first class cabin on its Boeing 787 fleet.

“British Airways has a first class product but keep in mind that BA is one of the most profitable carriers, and secondly they have huge point-to-point traffic that has very high first class demand.”

“But even if you ask BA for their first class load factor, I believe network-wide its is only 60%.”

In lieu of first class on the Boeing 787s, Al Baker believes that offering a high quality business class is a superior strategy.


“We have decided that we better not have first class, but give a very good business class product, and that is what we are doing – we are really giving a first class product with a business class price.”

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
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