Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker yesterday shared that his airline will not introduce premium economy seats across its services. He feels that his company’s current class offerings give the right balance on its aircraft.
During a Fireside Chat hosted by Aviation Week, Al Baker spoke about the future of the aviation market amid the global health crisis. Leisure travel is expected to bounce back before business travel. With Qatar Airways offering a state-of-the-art business product across its services, its CEO was asked about how the airline would compensate with the shrinking business travel market.
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He responded by highlighting that there are a lot of high-net-worth individuals who would fly in business class. Therefore, the carrier doesn’t only have to focus on businesspersons to fill in these seats.
Nonetheless, Al Baker believes that business traffic will eventually come back. Until then, the firm’s frequent fliers would have the opportunity to travel in the premium cabin by using their miles. Moreover, if necessary, the company will shrink its business class section of the airplane, as it has the flexibility to do this.
The executive was then asked about if Qatar Airways is considering to introduce a premium economy class in response to the changing environment. However, he was adamant that his airline would not go ahead with this prospect.
“I will not introduce premium economy because Qatar Airways’ economy class is already premium economy. The comfort we provide, the economics of our seat, [and] the amenities we provide around the seat, [are] conducive to a premium economy,” he said in the discussion with Aviation Week.
“As a matter of fact, in my opinion, premium economy is the most uncomfortable seat in an airplane because it is giving you a leg rest, and after some time, your leg really starts hurting you.”
No need right now
Altogether, Qatar Airways’ business products, such as its Qsuite, are the cream of the crop in commercial aviation. Even though business travel is down, several passengers choose to fly on these seats even when on leisure trips. Moreover, the change of climate could also see new customer segments traveling in business class due to the isolated nature of these seats.
Additionally, the airline’s economy seats are more comfortable than most standard offerings in the same class. Therefore, the carrier will undoubtedly manage to find the right balance between economy and business to meet demand over the next few years, without having to introduce a premium economy class.
What are your thoughts about Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker’s views about premium economy seats? Do you agree with the executive? Let us know what you think of these statements in the comment section.