Qatar Airways to launch 'Super Business Class' suite in March

Qatar Airways to launch 'Super Business Class' suite in March

Qatar Airways will launch its new 'super business class' in March 2017, with the custom-designed suite slated for both the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350 fleets.

Airline CEO Akbar Al Baker will pull back the curtain on the seat at the annual ITB Berlin travel trade show, which begins on March 8, and promises the seat will revolutionise business class with a suite-like design and 'business class bedroom'.

PREVIOUS | Qatar Airways will reveal its new ‘super business class’ seat in November this year, ahead of an ambitious fleet-wide refit aimed to not only leapfrog the competition but close the gap between business class and first class.

The seat will feature sliding doors to convert it into a suite-like cabin, similar to a prototype design proposed by British firm DCA Design International for Singapore Airlines (below).

Singapore Airlines business class concept

Also on the cards for at least the middle seats is a ‘double bed’, according to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who promises it “will frankly be first class at a business class fare.”

“I really feel that private suites become a bit claustrophobic, so when we are designing our new business class product we are making sure it is not claustrophobic” Al Baker tells Australian Business Traveller of what's been described as a 'business class bedroom'.

“So we have decided to go for semi-privacy, in the cabin concept people slide the two doors and it becomes a cabin. It is already semi-closed and then it becomes fully closed, because people want additional privacy when they are sleeping.”

Exclusive to Qatar

“There are so many things people can do to tailor the cabin to their requirements,” Al Akbar says of the new design, which will be exclusive to Qatar Airways.

And with business class seats now becoming the new battleground in a push for premium travellers, the radical design will be exclusive to Qatar Airways.

“The design is proprietary and will be patented” Al Akbar explains. “The seat designer will not be able to (offer) this product to anybody else, and if any airline mimics this design we have patent protection.”

The seat – which will be marketed as Super Business Class – will fly first on brand new aircraft as they roll out of the factory, “hopefully from December this year”, following a global media launch in November.

Fleet-wide refit for 2017

Al Akbar told Australian Business Traveller that the Super Business Class berth would likely debut on a Boeing 777-300ER, and then be followed by Airbus A350s, including the first long-range Airbus A350-1000 with Al Baker said was due for delivery in March 2017.

“Then we have a retrofit program where we will retrofit every aircraft in the fleet” at a rate of “three aircraft a month.”

Qatar Airways will continue to fly first class (below) only on its flagship Airbus A380s.

Qatar Airways Airbus A380 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" Al Baker previously told Australian Business Traveller at the Arabian Travel Market in mid-2014.

Earlier this week Singapore Airlines revealed that its next wave of A380 deliveries from 2017 would have fewer first class suites, although those suites are expected to have a larger footprint, partly in answer to the spacious near-4m² first class Apartment of Etihad’s superjumbo.

 

 

15 Comments

  • sgb

    sgb

    3 Mar, 2016 02:11 pm

    Love the doors, privacy plus, lock the kiddies out of sight. The more I read and hear about Qatar the more I'm liking.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    10 Jan, 2017 08:28 am

    @sgb,

    We tried the J product on 3 aircraft (77W, A350, A340) for the first time over the festive period. I would certainly recommend. Heaps better than EK 777, but I won't press that point too much with you ;)

    Though I think EK beat QR hands down with their lounges at DXB. The DOH lounges (both Mourjan and Safwa, which we tried) were rubbish.

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  • Arza

    Arza

    3 Mar, 2016 02:28 pm

    Im not too sure what to expect, considering that he said their "regular economy is good enough to be premium economy" at 3-4-3 configuration in the 777... 

    Maybe it will be better, but I personally won't be expecting much to be completely honest. 

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  • Ben

    Globalroaming

    4 Mar, 2016 03:08 pm

    Unless they are changing, QR is 3-3-3 in Y on the 777. So I think the statement is valid compared to EY, EK or the many many other 777 operators that fly with 10 across. 

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  • hwle

    hwle

    18 Oct, 2016 09:31 am

    Hi Ben, actually Arza's comment is valid as they have a number of 777-300ERs that are 3-4-3 in economy:  https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qatar_Airways/Qatar_Airways_Boeing_777-300ER.php

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  • kiwiwings

    kiwiwings

    18 Oct, 2016 09:46 am

    They do have some 3-4-3 layouts

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  • kiwiwings

    kiwiwings

    11 Jan, 2017 07:25 am

    Their A380 Y upper deck is a 2-4-2 layout and much more spacious than SQs upper deck Y and less crowded

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  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    4 Mar, 2016 02:48 pm

    I'm predicting a big increase in the number of mile-high club memberships when the 'double bed' comes on line.

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  • johninoz

    johninoz

    7 Mar, 2016 04:45 pm

    Whilst they can't run the airline in regard to all Islamic principles, ie I assume they serve alcohol on board, I doubt they would ever, shall we say - facilitate - membership of the "Mile High Club".  That would be a bridge too far for most airlines, let alone one from an Islamic country I should think.  

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  • Broderick Boyd

    brobro

    18 Oct, 2016 01:02 pm

    I recently flew QR's 772LR's, they're still the preferred 3-3-3 layout and incredibly comfortable.

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar

    18 Oct, 2016 02:48 pm

    there's nothing more 'sexy' than 2 side by side seats in a semi private cabin in bed mode, that still require each person to wear a seatbelt, joining the 'mile high club' lol. But hey, i'm sure some people will still 'give it a go' lol.  QR conveniently leave out the safety aspects/requirements  

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  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    19 Oct, 2016 01:00 am

    Yeah, on second thought they could just connect every two seats in their 777 so everyone sleeps with someone else...

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  • kiwiwings

    kiwiwings

    11 Jan, 2017 07:31 am

    David are they retrofitting the A350-900 also? Or just rolling it out on the A350-1000?


    I think they're flying the 777-200LR to AKL, will this also get the new product eventually? I think it needs to in order to compete with EK's J direct (although I don't mind the open cabin 2-2-2 layout)

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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    13 Jan, 2017 04:00 pm

    Are there ANY rumors on what they are going to base their seat on? There is no way they are building a seat from the ground up! 

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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    13 Jan, 2017 04:29 pm

    Based on Thompson Aero Seating's Vantage XL????

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18 Jan, 2017 04:07 am

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