The 2013 World Airline Award winner was Emirates; who will it be this year? Photo: Brandon Farris
The 2014 World Airline Awards were held recently, in conjunction with the Farnborough Air Show, and the winners have been announced. In a star-studded event held at the old Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Wind Tunnels, the winners were announced by Skytrax, who manages the awards. Some of the winners this year came as a bit of a surprise.
The World Airline Awards are an independent and totally non-biased process, with nearly 19 million people voting online (between August 2013 to May 2014) to decide who has the best services, cabins, cabin crews, and even lounges. This is not just for your big name full-service airlines; even Low Cost Carriers have their own categories! More than 105 different nationalities participated in this year’s survey and helped to define who was going to be named “World’s Best Airline”.
Qatar Airways’ first A380 took off on its maiden flight to Hamburg, where the aircraft is being readied for delivery to QR.
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.
Qatar Airways new A380 First Class – Photo: Qatar Airways
This week, Qatar Aiways unveiled what their new First Class product on the Airbus A380 will look like and it is impressive.
There are some immediate things that jump out and excite me beyond the hard statistics. The colors and branding fit right in with the overall Qatar Airways color palette. Many airlines, to their detriment, completely lose all branding in their premium cabin and begin to focus on creating an atmosphere that attempts to soothe the passenger away.
Qatar Airways’ first A380 before being fully painted – Photo: Airbus
There are some airlines that even make their premium cabins look like hospitals covered in billboards… but I won’t mention names. It looks as if Qatar Airways has decided to create an elegant, welcoming living room-like atmosphere without losing their identity as an airline inside. As an aircraft interiors geek, I find this exciting.
A hybrid Qatar Airways/Airbus livery is painted onto the latest test A350XWB – Photo: Airbus
In Toulouse, France this past week, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker made a visit to inspect the Airbus A350XWB manufacturing line ahead of the first delivery of the type to the airline later this year. As Al Baker inspected the A350 line, along with senior Qatar & Airbus management, Airbus revealed a special livery for their latest aircraft (MSN004).
MSN004 was painted in a hybrid Airbus & Qatar Airlines launch customer livery. Part Qatar Airways at the front, and the standard Airbus livery in the rear, the most noticeable features are the striking Oryx logos, not only on the aircraft body but also on the unique A350 winglets.
The aircraft will soon join the Airbus test fleet, where it will will be used for external noise and lightning tests, avionics development & certification, and training for the first customer pilots & maintenance teams.
One of Qatar’s two 0neworld 777s viewed from the window of a QR A320 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
A few days before departing for Warsaw, I had a stark realization – I actually had no reason to be in Poland other than a milage run. Polish Christmas is not what we are familiar with here in North America. Indeed, the idea of potentially-radioactive Belorussian carp as my main feast for such a joyous occasion caused me some dismay. I admit, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Poland (including two great military and aviation museums) – just not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Both days, the entire country – including the trains – more or less grinds to a halt.
Now, I could have spent a couple of days in a hotel in downtown Warsaw, and maybe gone shopping before my return home. But practicality is not, and never will be, how I solve problems. My original goal was to fly on Biman’s DC-10 from Kuala Lumpur back to Dacca, but I couldn’t make the times work. After a call with my usual travel agent (who has come to understand that I have a flare for the weird), I discovered that I could, within the window of my original British Airways fare to and from Poland go on a day trip to Singapore! I also had another goal – could I do it for a similar cost to a week of peak rate hotel time at a luxury hotel in Warsaw? Thanks to Polish currency (3 Zloty =1 USD) I could, and what an itinerary I booked!
We at AirlineReporter have always been fans of Qatar Airways; it was high time I found out what the fuss was about, starting with their Airbus narrow-body fleet. To say the least, I was excited. I had heard nothing but great things about Qatar’s business class from our other staff members. I am, probably, the harshest and most pedantic critic on the AirlineReporter staff. If you are already bored of the article, I can summarize my experience with QR in one word. AMAZING! If you are interested in why, please do continue.