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What To Expect From Qatar Airways New First Class and QSuite

Qatar Airways’ New GCEO Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer Shared His Vision for the Future of Qatar Airways, Including New First Class Seating

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer has shared his vision for Qatar Airways’ future. Designed to invigorate the global airline and its group of businesses, his roadmap for success includes innovation as the key pillar. This is reflected in Qatar Airways’ upcoming products and services, including introducing new First Class cabins on some of its fleet.

Aircraft | A380 | First-Class | Qatari-Couple | Dining
  • A new era of innovative growth at Qatar Airways, including exciting product reveals.
  • The GCEO said Qatar Airways will introduce a new First Class cabin in a major development.
  • His strategy for Qatar Airways, the country’s national carrier, includes pioneering innovation in digital technologies, products, fleet growth, and employee engagement as Qatar Airways continues its global expansion.

During an exclusive interview with CNBC—his first since becoming Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer in November 2023—Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer announced: “This is a new era.”

A High Demand For First-Class Cabins

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer shared his approach to developing a high-yield concept for Qatar Airways’ new First-Class cabin.

“Based on the demand from certain sectors, we see a high demand for First Class, and as such, have decided to introduce a newly-designed First Class cabin unique to Qatar Airways,” he said. “No one can develop a First Class cabin better than us – we are combining the experience of flying commercial and executive jets to develop something new. We are 70 to 80 percent ready and are only finalizing colors. We are hoping to announce it soon.”

This is both a bold statement and an understatement.

Qatar Airways Finally Aims To Compete In First Class

Certainly, Qatar Airways has needed to completely re-think its First Class product for a while. The open-recliner style seat is not on par with First Class on leading global carriers, including Emirates and Etihad Airways, which offer the luxury experience of a private apartment.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer’s statement suggests that Qatar Airways is finally developing a product similar to competitors’ first-class products, which delivers a private jet experience. Whether “no one can develop a First Class cabin better” remains to be proven. Others already have. However, a First Class surprise is a welcome announcement. There is room for it as travelers’ appetite for premium flying experiences rises.

Qatar Airways GCEO noted that the changing competitive aviation landscape in the GCC region is helping raise the bar on customer experience. He suggested that rivals are under pressure. Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer welcomed any challenge, saying he is committed to ensuring Qatar Airways will “outshine any competition.”

What To Expect From A New Qatar Airways First Class

So, should we expect a reveal of a product similar to the one in the Emirates’ “Game Changer” Boeing 777 First Class cabin, including virtual windows for those seated in the center private suites onboard?

Emirates “Game Changer” First Class cabin.

It depends on how much the airline is willing to invest and how dramatically Qatar Airways will change the LOPA or layout of the aircraft it chooses to offer this class. There is not enough room in the airline’s current first-class cabin to “plugin” suites of this size. If it takes this approach, the airline might need to sacrifice some square footage in other cabins.

However, a product similar to SWISS Senses First Class A350 cabin is an interesting possibility.

Tour the SWISS Senses A350-900 Cabin.
SWISS Senses First Class Suite on the A350.

SWISS has made room for three of these suites on the A350 aircraft, with the double center suite accommodating two passengers traveling individually or together. Qatar Airways could similarly limit the cabin footprint of its new First Class product.

Qatar Airways Redesigns the QSuite

The airline has been at a first-class product disadvantage for years because it deliberately prioritized its business product. The airline revealed the remarkable QSuite Business Class product at ITB Berlin 2017.

This product comprises two forward/aft-facing business suites separated by a sliding panel. It can be divided into four individual business suites or into a shared private space for up to four passengers traveling together.

The forward/aft facing 2×2 Qatar Airways QSuite at ITB Berlin in 2017. © FCMedia 2017

During his interview, Engr. Badr Al-Meer revealed that Qatar Airways will now redesign the Qsuite with a product debut at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2024. Structurally, we should not expect too much change in the next iteration. If it were no longer a forward/aft four-seater, it would not be the QSuite that the airline patented. However, the airline could update the trim, finish, and some hardware: tables, storage spaces, and in-flight entertainment system.

Qatar Airways Digital Improvements Target Efficiency And Innovation

Engr. Badr Al-Meer said Qatar Airways focuses on digital innovation to drive organizational efficiencies. However, the airline also likes to explore cutting-edge digital applications. Qatar Airways introduced its second-generation MetaHuman cabin crew member, Sama 2.0, at ITB Berlin this year.

Sama is powered by the digital human creator UneeQ. It sets new benchmarks for future AI implementations and showcases an elevated level of personal and functional interaction. On the QVerse metaverse site, you can ask Sama to give you a cabin tour of the airline’s A350.

Qatar Airways Adds Routes In Growth Markets

The airline continues to add new routes in growth markets, including China and India. The aim is to enhance Qatar’s position as a gateway to the world.

Qatar Airways currently serves over 170 global destinations. It will soon launch inaugural flights to Hamburg and Tashkent and resume flights to Lisbon and Venice. Qatar Airways will also resume several summer seasonal routes, including Adana, Antalya, Bodrum, Marrakesh, Mykonos, Sarajevo, and Trabzon.

Starting Strong At Qatar Airways

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer became Group CEO in November 2023, and he immediately focused on introducing innovative programs to benefit passengers and the airline’s global 60,000-strong workforce. His first message to employees stressed the importance of cultivating trust and empowerment in the work culture. Under his leadership, the airline has introduced various workplace initiatives that continue to improve employee satisfaction.  

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1 thought on “What To Expect From Qatar Airways New First Class and QSuite”

  1. Qsuite was designed to make best use of the wide fuselage of the A350, the seat sadly is too big for their smaller widebodies like the B787. Hopefully we’ won’t have to wait long to see the B787 fleet retro fitted with this new seat – doing so means we’ll be more likely to a suite on both of your flights when flying via Doha.

    At some point we’ll may see the current Qsuite swapped out for the new seat – it’s the heaviest of all business class seats being flown by the different airlines, making the change will reduce fuel costs but will probably only be done when the plane undergoes it’s D check (performed every six years) when everything in the cabin is taken out (seats, toilets, galleys, overhead bins) so engineers can inspect the skin of the aircraft, inside out).

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