Lately, I have received many questions about which Qatar Airways fleet has different cabin configurations and onboard products.
In this post, I will be summarizing the Doha-based flag carrier’s leased fleet in detail.
Why Did Qatar Airways Lease Aircraft?
Back in 2021, Qatar Airways started to ground its Airbus A350 fleet citing concerns about the accelerated rate at which the fuselage surface below the paint seems to be degrading which could potentially cause safety issues.
Well, while this matter is not a concern anymore as both the airline and the manufacturer, Airbus, have reached an “Amicable settlement” earlier this year, the situation in the past was more serious than you thought.
With the COVID-19 pandemic easing and a sharp increase in travel demand, Qatar Airways needed extra aircraft in order to accommodate all the passengers without operational disruptions. That is when the airline made a decision to lease some aircraft to fill up the capacities of grounded A350s.
The airline leased:
- Three Oman Air Airbus A330-300s
- Four Cathay Pacific Boeing B777-300ERs
- Two ex-Virgin Australia Boeing B777-300ERs
Qatar Airways Wet Leases Three Oman Air Airbus A330-300s
In 2022, the airline agreed to lease three Airbus A330-300s from Oman Air. This lease was a wet lease meaning, the lessor (Oman Air) provides aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance.
If you are on board Oman Air-operated flight, you will have a hybrid experience where there will be a combination of Oman Air hard products with Qatar Airways soft products.
It will definitely be a special flight as Oman Air cabin crews will offer Qatar Airways services.
These are the registrations of Oman Air A330s currently operating for Qatar Airways:
All three aircraft are roughly 8 years old and have different cabin configurations. All three aircraft have a total of 289 seats: 24 in Business Class and 265 in Economy Class.
The Business Class on Oman Air is in a 2-2-2 configuration and features APEX Suites which is considered one of my favorite seats on board that are also found in Korean Air or Gulf Air.
Which Route Does Oman Air A330-300s Operate
Oman Air-leased Qatar Airways aircraft currently operates to five destinations from its Doha hub:
- Doha(DOH) – Khartoum(KRT)
- Doha(DOH) – Colombo(CMB)
- Doha(DOH) – Kilimanjaro(JRO) – Dar es Salaam(DAR)
- Doha(DOH) – Tunis(TUN)
While select routes may vary depending on the schedule if you want to try out the aircraft, the schedule between Doha to Tunis, Tunisia is fixed.
Qatar Airways Leases Four ex-Cathay Pacific B777-300ERs
Similarly, in early 2022, Qatar Airways acquired four ex-Cathay Pacific Boeing B777-300ERs for lease that were stored due to the pandemic. What is amazing about this aircraft is that it features a real First Class cabin on board as well as a Premium Economy Class.
These so-called “BO Series” aircraft have Qatar Airways registrations as follows:
All four B777s have a total of 294 seats in four class configurations. There are:
- First: 6 semi-private seats
- Business: 53 forward-facing reverse herringbone seats
- Premium Economy: 34 seats
- Economy: 201 seats
Since Qatar Airways only feature ‘real’ First Class products on its A380s, this is great news as you will have more chances to fly. Although Cathay’s version of First Class is a little outdated, it still offers spacious seating and a cabin experience.
On the other hand, the Business Class cabin on Cathay’s B777 is not as good as the Qsuite. It does not mean that seats are bad but if you compare them to the Qsuites with doors, you will find it a little bit disappointing.
The Premium Economy cabin features 34 recliner seats and Qatar Airways is selling these seats as Economy Class at an additional price. These seats are similar to the A320 Business Class but with a narrower width.
Which Route Does ex-Cathay Pacific B777-300ERs Operate
The Cathay Pacific-leased Qatar Airways aircraft are currently operating to six destinations:
- Doha(DOH) – Istanbul (IST)
- Doha(DOH) – Colombo(CMB) – Male(MLE)
- Doha(DOH) – Kuwait City(KWI)
- Doha(DOH) – Zurich(ZRH) on select dates only
- Doha(DOH) – Hong Kong(HKG)
You will easily identify these aircraft on the ground as they are all painted in white with the Oryx logo on the tail. If you have not yet flown on Cathay Pacific’s First Class products, this is a great opportunity to try it out for a fraction of the cost.
Both revenue fares and award redemption rates are widely available through Qatar Airways Privilege Club and partner programs.
Qatar Airways Leases Two ex-Virgin Australia B777-300ERs
Lastly, late last year and in February 2023, Qatar Airways picked up two ex-Virgin Australia’s B777-300ERs. This was part of the six B777s the airline leased due to aircraft shortage.
These are the registrations of ex-Virgin Australia B777s currently operating for Qatar Airways. It is another set of “BO-Series” registration following Cathay Pacific-leased aircraft.
The two aircraft have a total of 339 seats each with:
- Business: 37 forward-facing reverse herringbone seats
- Premium Economy: 24 seats
- Economy: 278 seats
Virgin Australia’s version of B777 does not feature First Class seats yet, what is awesome about this aircraft is that there is an onboard bar in Business Class. For context, only Qatar’s A380 features a huge onboard bar on the upper deck.
It is not as luxurious compared to the A380 bar, but it is better than nothing on long-haul flights.
The two aircraft also feature Premium Economy products which are sold as Economy with extra cost. However, compared to Cathay Pacific’s seat, the seat lacks some functions.
Which Route Does ex-Virgin Australia B777-300ERs Operate
The ex-Virgin Australia-leased Qatar Airways aircraft are currently operating to three destinations:
- Doha(DOH) – Manchester(MAN)
- Doha(DOH) – Bali(DPS)
- Doha(DOH) – Bangkok(BKK)
Initially, Manchester and Bali were the main destinations for these B777s however as of April 1, 2023, Qatar Airways pulled out one A380 service from Bangkok, and the B777 from Virgin Australia has now replaced the service.
Similar to the four other B777s leased, the aircraft is also painted in a white body with the Oryx logo on the tail section.
Qatar Airways has a diverse cabin configuration in its fleet due to using leased aircraft from Cathay Pacific, Oman Air and Virgin Australia.
From Qsuites to APEX Suites, I think there is no other airline like Qatar Airways offering such a diverse cabin option for passenger experience. You can choose from 16 different seating choices between First Class to Economy Class.