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Qatar to fly first Airbus A380 this week

By David Flynn     Filed under: Airbus A380, Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways will begin flying the Airbus A380 this week, closing the chapter on a series of delays which have marred the superjumbo's debut with the Gulf carrier.

Airbus will hand over the keys to the first of ten A380s at a ceremony at its Hamburg factory this Tuesday, September 16, with the plane's delivery or 'ferry' flight to Doha leaving Hamburg on the morning of Thursday September 18.

Two more superjumbos are expected to join the fleet next month, with Qatar's first wave of commercial A380 flights fanning out to Paris, London and New York.

Those cities were expected to see Qatar's superjumbo from June this year, but airline CEO Akbar Al Baker refused to accept the aircraft due to problems with the interior finish not being up to standard.

Al Baker has previously said he would seek compensation from Airbus as the issues affected on-time delivery of the A380 and its subsequent entry into service.

Step inside Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 for a look at the Gulf carrier's new first class and business class cabin, the inflight bar and even the bathrooms.

Qatar's A380 first class

The upper deck of Qatar's A380 includes eight elegant and thankfully-restrained first suites.

Each seat converts to a fully lie-flat bed, of course, with the 90 inch pitch offering plenty of room to stretch out.

There's also a 26 inch (48cm) personal HD video screen and companion dining seat.

The A380's exclusive first class bathrooms "create a spa-like warmth with contemporary clean lines and a finish that comes with the most luxurious amenities", the airline preens.

The taps are sensor-operated, and we've got to admit that it's a pleasure to see a generously-sized large square sink.

Qatar's A380 business class

Also on the upper deck are 48 business class seats featuring a near-identical design to their siblings on Qatar's Boeing 787 fleet.

Behind this is a spacious inflight lounge and bar with mood lighting.

Qatar says the lounge not only "offers passengers an escape from the typical airplane environment" but has been designed to exude the feel of a private "executive club".

The lounge area also serves to insulate Qatar's premium passengers from the 56 economy seats perched at the rear of the upper deck.

Qatar's A380 economy class

These type of upstairs mini-cabins for economy are quite popular with savvy travellers.

It's believed that Qatar will cannily allocate these seats as first priority to top-tier Platinum members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer scheme as well as Oneworld partner airlines including Qantas and British Airways.

The lower deck of Qatar's A380 is given over entirely to 405 economy class seats configured in a 10-across 3-4-3 layout.

We've also got a full seatmap courtesy of FlightGlobal.

Qatar's A380 fleet will operate from Doha's new Hamad International Airport, which includes a series of A380 gates so that passengers can board the aircraft from both its upper and lower decks.

This is part of Qatar's goal to maximise each aircraft's flying time and achieve a minimum connecting time of just 30 minutes between flights.

Built on 2200 hectares of mostly reclaimed land, the $15 billion airport includes a dedicated terminal for the sole use of first class and business class passengers.

In addition, the airport's newly-opened Al Mourjan Business Lounge is touted as one of the largest airport lounges in the world.

Spanning two storeys and 10,000 square metres, it’s roughly the size of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools and can house up to 1,000 guests at a time.


Photos: Qatar Airways opens new Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 6/3/14 by Alvin

I actually prefered the 787 business class colour scheme over this one. First Class looks pretty good (comparable to the current A340), Economy looks wide, but the colour scheme is slightly hideous (I would have the maroon colour scheme hands down when it comes to a choice, over this light pink one).

1 on 6/3/14 by Speedbird

Agreed on the economy and biz colour scheme, but top marks for them not going Emirates bling tastic kitch in first.

Interesting they having gone for the more private suit layout of SQ, EK and Etihad (which I'm sure will be coming out strong with their A380 offering later this year).

1 on 6/3/14 by Speedbird

Grrr.. HAVEN'T gone, not having (bloody iPad auto(in)correct)

2 on 6/3/14 by cdinoz

A whole lot more tasteful than the EK birds... very conservative and understated. 

I like!

3 on 6/3/14 by Michael

Anyone else find it a bit concerning the fact the there are 459 economy class seats on just the bottom deck? Lufthansa only manages to fit 420, and Emirates 407. Nearly 40 more seats seems like quite a squeeze down the back of this bus!

1 on 6/3/14 by hwle

I agree with Michael - 459 economy, 50 business and 8 first - that's majorly squeezy! Have to say as nicely fitted as the colour scheme is, Qatar is still miles below the service offered on Emirates.

2 on 9/3/14 by 7OD

I'm pretty sure that that is only a typo, as I had read elsewhere that Qatar would also be offering a small economy cabin on the upper deck, with the 459 seats spread across that and the lower deck.

1 on 9/4/14 by Moff

On the infographic it states 405 seats in the main deck and 56 on the upper deck. This is a much more reasonable number

4 on 10/3/14 by RozInAus

What? Still no Premium Economy then?

5 on 12/3/14 by Arcanum

I think F is a bit disappointing myself.  The seat looks comparable to what you'd already find on JL, LX, LH, etc.  I'd say it's actually worse than the F product on OZ's new 777 and TG's refubished 747s.  Given what EK and SQ have done with their A380s, I somehow expected more with this plane!

1 on 6/5/14 by Alvin

And now EY...

1 on 6/5/14 by Arcanum

Agreed.  Etihad really has set a new standard!

2 2 days, 1 hour ago by Shang

exactly, lots of airlines still opt 1-2-1 layout for their first class and I think it's ok. However putting 1-2-1 layout first class on upper deck of 380 is just unaccetable.  Considering the width of upper deck, 1-2-1 configuration is just too cramp for first class. 

CX has their first class in 1-1-1 layout in 77W. Qantas also puts their 1-1-1 first class in 380's lower deck. 

6 on 6/5/14 by smit0847

That is one ugly looking A380 exterior! Really does give meaning to the term 'whale'!

1 on 11/6/14 by ILIKEPLANES101

I was just about to type that myself :)

7 on 9/7/14 by Alex_upgrade

Its is clear that Qatar Airways have simply misplaced the keys to their A380 and can't find them. How embarassing. 

8 1 day, 13 hours ago by gumshoe

Looks a lot better than that awful EK guady J & F.

1 1 day, 3 hours ago by planemad


I also like the color of the eco seats alot more than EK's!


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