Qatar Airways has decided not to upgrade its Airbus A380s with Qsuite business class suites owing to plans to retire the superjumbos in as little as five years' time.
The airline's CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, tipped the fate of its A380 fleet at last week's Paris Air Show, admitting "we feel that the aircraft does not have very long future in Qatar Airways' fleet. We would think about retiring those aeroplanes on their 10th anniversary, unless something untoward happens and we need them."
Al Baker confirmed this would see the Oneworld member's first A380 put out to pasture in 2024 "because it would be 10 years old."
The airline originally planned to fit the Qsuite to its ten Airbus A380s in 2020, but using a modified version of what is widely considered the world's best business class seat due to the more pronounced wall curvature of the superjumbo's upper deck compared to the Qsuite-sporting Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 jets.
"We cannot put the Qsuite on the upper deck of the A380 because of curvature of the fuselage," Al Baker told Australian Business Traveller in February 2018, "because we have to narrow the seat, and we don’t want to do that... so we are developing a new 1-2-1 product... it will have full privacy, so it will not be very far away from the Qsuite. The only thing it will not have will be able to have is a quad (to) convert into a family area."
However, with the airline now planning an early exit for the superjumbos, a spokesperson for Qatar Airways tells Australian Business Traveller that "for the A380, they will not be fitted with QSuite."
Qatar's A380s will retain their original business class seat right up until their last flight, although this isn't a reason to break out the hankies.
We regard Qatar's superjumbo as having among the best 'non-suite' business class in the skies (above), as it boasts all the best attributes from a 1-2-1 design to fully flat beds, a pleasing degree of privacy due to the angled layout and curved shell, plus ample working and stowage space around the seat.
The A380s also offer an outstanding social space at the upper deck's lounge-bar (above), and the opportunity to upgrade to one of eight well-appointed first class suites (below).
The modified Qsuite slated for the A380 was also intended as an upgrade to Qatar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, although the airline spokesperson could offer "no update as of now."
A 'Qsuite 2.0' is believed to be under development for the Boeing 777-9, which Qatar plans to take delivery of in late 2020, with the new suite markedly lighter than its predecessor.
"These seats are not very light (and) we always endeavour to have a product that is lighter on an aeroplane," Al Baker has said. "The modified Qsuite that we are now looking at for the 777x will be at least 22% lighter than the current Qsuite."