a man in a white shirt
Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer. Image: CNBC

Qatar Airways CEO Teases New First Class and Aircraft Order

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said that the carrier plans to launch a new First Class cabin.

In addition, the Gulf carrier has also sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to Airbus and Boeing for a large aircraft order

First Class Reveal on the Horizon

Previously, Qatar Airways focused primarily on Economy and Business Class experiences. However, Al Meer has reportedly recognized a continuing demand for luxury travel and acknowledged a change in strategy.

“We were always focusing on two cabins, Economy and Business. However, based on demands for certain sectors we see that there is and that there will be, always, very high demand on First Class.”

Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer told CNBC.
a screen shot of a news report
Qatar Airways CEO Interview. Image: CNBC

While tight-lipped on an exact launch date, Al Meer hinted at a soon-to-be-revealed product.

“We wanted to combine the experience of flying commercial and flying on a private jet and develop something new. We are 70% to 80% ready. We are only finalizing colours and small touches, but hopefully, we will be able to announce it very soon.”

Taking Cues from QSuite Success

Al Meer is confident in the carrier’s ability to redefine first-class travel, building on the success of their award-winning QSuite Business Class.

“I feel that nobody can develop a First Class cabin better than us for a very simple reason – you see what we have developed with the QSuite, which is still the best, and if we don’t announce our new QSuite for many years, our current QSuite will still be the benchmark.”

Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer told CNBC

a bed with two monitors on it
Qatar Airways Qsuite

“We will utilise our knowledge and our expertise from having a private jet company… we want to combine the experience from flying commercial and from flying a private jet and develop something new which will be a new First Class cabin,” Al Meer elaborated on their approach.

Courting Airbus and Boeing for New Fleet

Adding to the exciting news, Al Meer confirmed that Qatar Airways submitted a Request for Proposal (RFP) to both Airbus and Boeing for a large aircraft order. However, details regarding the specific type and number of planes remain undisclosed.

“We released an RFP to create some competition between both suppliers. We will go through the process, and, with an order this big, we need to take our time.”

Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer told CNBC
a group of airplanes parked on a runway
Qatar Airways Fleet

Expansion Plans

Al Meer further outlined target markets for expansion, which include China, India, Australia, Japan, Korea, and others. He emphasized the robust regional demand for air travel, with passenger numbers surging by over 30% in the past four months. However, he anticipates growth to stabilize around 10%-15% for the remainder of the year.

Regarding aircraft delivery delays, Al Meer acknowledged the challenges faced by Airbus and Boeing but expressed confidence in both companies’ abilities to resolve them. He is expecting the first delivery of Boeing 777X by the end of next year, stating his full confidence in Boeing’s commitment to safety.

“We are affected when our aircraft are not being delivered on time. I know Airbus and Boeing have certain problems. We have full trust in both organizations and they’re strong enough to overcome those problems.”

Qatar Airways CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer told CNBC

This strategic shift by Qatar Airways under Al Meer’s leadership signifies a renewed focus on catering to the high-end travel market while potentially expanding its fleet with next-generation aircraft. The coming months promise exciting developments within the Gulf carrier.

Article Source: CNBC