Qatar Airways' new Boeing 787-9 jets aren't expected to take wing until later this year, but we're learning a little more about the new business class which will crown the Gulf carrier's Dreamliners.
And yes, we said new business class – as previously and exclusively reported by Executive Traveller, Qatar Airways' Boeing 787-9s won't be crowned by the highly-regarded Qsuite of the Airbus A350s or some Boeing 777s, due to the Dreamliner's slightly narrower cabin.
But nor will Qatar Airways be sticking with the same Boeing 787-8 business class seat, which was developed by Collins Aerospace based on its popular Super Diamond design.
Instead, expect something broadly similar but with Qsuite-style doors for privacy.
"It will be a modified version of the 1-2-1 seat we have in the past, but that seat does not have full privacy – this one will have full privacy, with a sliding door,” Qatar Airways Group CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker told Executive Traveller in late 2020.
The height of the seat partitions and their sliding privacy doors are believed to sit lower than the Qsuite's 135cm (53 inches) based on passenger feedback.
However, Al Baker added that while the Boeing 787-9 suites "will be similar to the Super Diamond, it will not be by Collins."
A mid-sized cabin
And while the seat itself remains under wraps, now we have an idea of how large the business class cabin will be.
Last week, Qatar Airways briefly listed the Boeing 787-9 on its schedule for flights from mid-June to the likes of Athens, Madrid and Milan, before replacing that with the 787-8.
This listing included the aircraft's configuration of 30 business class seats and 281 economy seats.
(Given the known 1-2-1 layout, we can assume this means seven full rows of 1-2-1 plus an additional two seats – either solo window seats or a pair of middle seats – at one end of the cabin.)
That puts Qatar's Boeing 787-9 business class cabin at around halfway between the 22 seats of the 787-8 and the 36 seats of the Airbus A350-900.
Qatar Airways inked an order for 30 Boeing 787-9s, with seven handed over before the coronavirus pandemic put a sudden stop to the airline’s typically ambitious fleet growth and pushed all Airbus and Boeing deliveries back until at least 2022.
Al Baker has previously said the Boeing 787-9 fleet would replace most of the older and smaller Boeing 787-8s.
The airline is now focussing much its short-term growth on newer fuel-efficient jets such as the Airbus A350, intending “to reduce our emissions and have a carbon neutral growth over a period of time,” Al Baker told Executive Traveller, “so we are very keen to keep on introducing fuel efficient aeroplanes.”