The economics of operating a first-class cabin on the next-generation long-haul aircraft no longer makes sense to Qatar Airways, according to Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who Bloomberg quoted during an interview in Istanbul on Saturday.
Al Baker said there would be no first-class section in its future Boeing Co. 777X fleet. He said the future is business class:
“Why should you invest in a subclass of an aeroplane that already gives you all the amenities that first class gives you… I don’t see the necessity.”
Qatar’s fleet of 777X with only business (branded as “Q-suite” product) and economy class is set to replace the airline’s Airbus SE A380s as it eventually retires all ten.
The move to phase out first class on long hauls comes counter to Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Qantas Airways Ltd, and Air France, who are beefing up high-end offerings.
What’s behind the downshift? Al Baker said the first-class section “doesn’t justify the returns.”
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