Qatar Airways to maintain fleet and network expansion plans
Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, announced the carrier will maintain fleet and route network expansion plans, as it less affected by a reduction in premium travel, as its fleet is configured with a smaller proportion of premium seats (Bloomberg, 14-Oct-2009). Mr Al Baker also ruled out launching Premium Economy “for the time being” and predicts First Class travel will be affected over the long-term by the economic downturn. Qatar Airways plans to replace First Class sections in its four A340s with Business Class seating. The carrier’s fleet is expected to increase from 70 aircraft to 110 by 2013.
Qatar Airways: "Business-class travel is still buoyant with us because we don’t have the same exposure that other airlines have. It’s not difficult to fill this when you have a reasonable number and you give a first class service. Our strategy is different. BA has a huge business class and they have huge capacity deployed over the Atlantic, which we do not, so relatively we are doing quite well. Certain destinations are always packed. We don’t plan to introduce Premium Economy for the time being because our Economy product is as good as Premium Economy of any other airline,” Akbar Al Baker, CEO. Source: Bloomberg, 14-Oct-2009.