MIAMI – As major airlines are rethinking their fleet strategy due to the current pandemic and cost awareness, Qatar Airways (QR) has this week revealed its plans to retire its entire Boeing 777-200LR and 300ER fleet by 2024.
The airline has plans to replace these aircraft with the Boing 777X they have on order. Qatar Airways Group CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker tells Executive Traveller, “We are very conscious about our emissions and we are very keen to keep on introducing fuel-efficient airplanes.”
It is understood that QR only wants new fuel-efficient jets in its fleet. Thus, it is not just the Boeing 777 that will eventually leave the fleet.
Airbus A330 and A320 retirements
Currently, QR’s A330 are being phased out as well as the A320 that will be gone within the next 4 years. The arrival of their Boeing 787-9 will open up for eventually replacing their current Boeing 787-8. Qatar also wants the A380 out by 2028.
The triple seven is a big workhorse for the airline. Their Boeing 777-200LR fly one of the longest flights in the world, from Doha to Aukland, NZ with an average flight time of over 16 h.
Just recently, the airline spent millions of dollars adding new QSuite business class cabins to some of its Boeing 777.
In the last couple of months, the airline has also flown cargo-only flights with many of their 777-300ER to meet the demand for cargo flights.
New Boeing 777-9, 777-8 and 777X
In June of 2020. the airline has 57 of the wide-body jet, of which 48 of the 777-300ER will be replaced by the 50 Boeing 777-9 the airline has on order.
Additionally, QR has 9 of the shorter but longer-ranged 777-200LR. These will be replaced by 10 extended ranged Boeing 777-8.
The Boeing 777X will feature an updated design of the airline’s award-winning Qsuite business class, the CEO confirms. Thus, first-class on the new Boeing 777X might become reality.
First class on the new triple sevens
Currently, , QR only offers first-class cabins on their A380 fleet. QR CEO has earlier stated that the first-class product will not be reintroduced once the A380 is retired, as first Class seats are hard to fill and QSuite levels off their premium market.
However, it looks like the airline has chosen to look into a first-class product once again. The CEO says that some Boeing 777-9 may feature “a very exclusive first-class cabin.”
The airline has two or three European destinations with a big demand such as London and Paris that could make the first-class cabin economical. Akbar states that QR “may introduce a very small first-class cabin for our local passengers who want a very exclusive first-class product.”