Qatar Airways was due to roll out the next generation of its business class Qsuites on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in March. However, it was revealed today that, despite having seven of its 787-9 aircraft delivered, it could be months before they take to the skies because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Indefinite delay for Qatar Airways 787-9 Qsuites
According to Executive Traveller, the ITB Berlin travel trade show on 4th March 2020 should have seen the unveiling of Qatar Airways second-generation 787-9 Qsuites. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the show was canceled, and it remains to be seen when the new Qsuites will available for business class passengers.
Qatar has ordered 30 Boeing 787-9s, of which seven have already been handed over. With no end of the current crisis in sight, they will be standing idle for the foreseeable future. Simple Flying reached out to Qatar Airways for comment, but none had been received at the time of publishing.
Qatar Airways Qsuites
Considered to be among the best business class products in the world, the Qsuite is already offered on some Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 services. First introduced in 2017, Qatar describes the enclosed business class Qsuite as offering ambient mood lighting, forward and aft-facing seats, generous storage space and lie-flat beds.
The center suites have individual spaces, but with partitions that can be lowered to create a quad suite in which four people can work. The Qsuite’s media panel features USB, HDMI and NFC connectivity.
Delivery of Qatar Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners was delayed because the Qsuites needed to be adapted due to the narrower body of the 787-9. A report by One Mile At A Time stated that although the Airbus A350 is only 4.8 inches wider than the Boeing 787-9, compromises had to be made to accommodate the Qsuite.
The evolution of the second generation Qsuites
The second-generation Qsuites appear to be almost the same as the original. A double suite and bed can still be created by lowering partitions. The main difference is that, because of the width restriction, there is no longer the option for a central quad suite. Executive Traveller also reported that the height of the partitions and privacy doors has been reduced.
One of the main advantages of the Qsuite 2.0 is a 20% reduction in weight over the first generation. With every bit of weight saved, the airline can reap the benefit of an improvement in fuel efficiency. With the current pandemic causing severe financial difficulties for airlines, every cent saved makes a difference.
The new Qsuites were originally designed for the Airbus A380 with adaptations being made to fit into the upper deck business class section with its steeply curved walls. However, Qatar Airways’ A380s are being retired, starting in 2024, and will not be equipped with the Qsuite.
After the crisis
Qatar Airways can only hope that an end to crisis comes into view and that the Boeing 787-9 Qsuites can finally be put into service, and that there enough travelers to make them viable.