Qatar Airways Unveils New Plans for Economy Class

Pictured (left to right) His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Qatari Ambassador to Germany; Corentin Tolisso, a member of the FC Bayern München football team; His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways; and Lothar Matthäus, a former football manager and player, in a mock-up of Qatar Airways’ new economy class on the carrier’s stand at ITB Berlin.

Qatar Airways was awarded “World’s Best Business Class” and “Best Business Class Seat” at the 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards for its Qsuite product. Now, the airline has set its sights on delivering a similarly cutting-edge economy class experience.

On the first day of ITB Berlin, Qatar Airways has revealed a newly enhanced economy class seating,  product and onboard experience. During a press conference at the show, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said its latest offering was “head and shoulders above the competition.”

Qatar Airways’ new economy-class seat, created by Italian seat manufacturer Optimares, will come with a pre-recline of six degrees for take-off and landing, which can then be enhanced to a full recline of 19 degrees. According to Al Baker, a “semi-fixed back shell” means that even in full recline, the seats won’t encroach on the space of the passenger behind.

Other features of the new seat include a 13.3-inch 4K screen, USB-C power outlets for fast charging, a lightweight adjustable headrest and dual multi-functional trays. Al Baker revealed that certain features of the seat have been patented.

Although the airline’s ORYX One entertainment offers passengers more than 4,000 options, Qatar Airways is set to begin live streaming television onboard, something enabled by its decision to install Inmarsat Aviation’s high-speed GX Aviation in-flight connectivity solution.

The carrier also revealed that it will actualize a new in-flight dining experience on board, branded “Quisine,” which includes an increase in the portion sizes of in-flight meals – appetizers by 20%, main courses by 25% and desserts by 50% – as well as more meal choices and a complimentary bottle of water for each passenger.

Qatar Airways is upscaling its commitment to the environment, too. As part of “going green with Quisine,” 80% of the items on its economy class meal trays will be compliant with a ban on single use plastics, while in the wider economy class cabin they are increasing the number of biodegradable or recyclable products in use by 80%.

In terms of the rollout for these new products and services, Al Baker confirmed that while certain aspects of its new Quisine experience in economy class will begin appearing on aircraft from April 2019 – and be in service across its entire fleet by the end of the year – the first time Qatar Airways’ new economy seat will appear is with the introduction of the Airbus A321neo aircraft.

The seat will eventually be rolled out across the carrier’s long-haul fleet, but Al baker stated, “We cannot do it tomorrow, because we have a lot of aircraft that are very young and we cannot change already the very enhanced and comfortable seats flying on our airplanes, so this is a project that will last anywhere between five to eight years before it will be a uniform seat in our entire fleet.”