Qatar Airways has now set the date for their inaugural service for the newest aircraft in the fleet, the Airbus A380. Qatar has previously been very tight-lipped about their newest aircraft, giving just small glimpses of the on-board environment or a tease of their intended destinations (London & Paris). When they released information on the first class seats at the ITB event in Berlin in March, this was our first glimpse into the gulf carrier’s plans for the whale jet.
On June 17th, 2014, when QR3 departs the new Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha it will be the first flight of the airline’s new A380. As it heads for London, it will bring upon a new era in the airline’s growth. These flights are actually a swap of one of the current six flights per day, from a 777-300ER to the new A380. This is a good thing, as it takes a two-cabin aircraft and swaps it out for the latest and greatest Qatar has to offer.
The A380 for Qatar will be in a three-class configuration with eight First Class, 48 Business and 461 Economy Class seats across both decks of the A380. The Business Class seats will more than likely be the same reverse herringbone configuration that is currently onboard their Boeing 787s and will compliment the new First Class offering. The Economy Class seats, however, have not been released, though I would suspect it would be a common seat option with the 787 as well.
Unfortunately, the airline has not released any official seat maps as yet, however rumors are everywhere amongst AvGeek’s about the internal configuration. What is known is that First & Business class will share common space thanks to some teaser images that were released recently from Qatar Airways.
The new images show not only the First & Business class lounge on the aircraft, but also a glimpse into one of the First Class bathrooms. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said that the airline’s A380 is bound to create new benchmarks in inflight experience.
“Unrivaled onboard passenger comfort is an increasingly important differentiator and is becoming a fundamental deciding factor driving passenger choice – and Qatar Airways has designed its A380 with this firmly in mind.” The images confirm this with the dark burgundy colors that are seen on other Qatar aircraft, and also with the deep brown wood that is seen on the interiors of their 787.
With the first of 13 new A380s set to be delivered any time now, and the opening of HIA planned soon, the A380 will be a new step up in the world for this ever-expanding airline. Later this year, Qatar also expects to launch the first A350 as well. At the moment, seats for the first A380 service on the 17th of June are on sale in all three classes, so if you’re in the area, why not get on that first flight!