Qatar Airways is pulling back the covers on its new Airbus A321neo and A321neo LR business class, even as deliveries of the jet itself are pushed back to 2022, with the Gulf carrier's CEO describing the seat as something akin to a single-aisle Qsuite – although without the sliding door.
"Every seat will have aisle access" and convert into a fully lie-lat bed, Qatar Airways Group CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker tells Executive Traveller.
However, unlike the highly-regarded Qsuites, "they will not have doors", Al Baker says. "But they will have something very similar, so you will have some privacy."
Al Baker has previously indicated the seat itself will use an existing design from an established manufacturer rather than a fully bespoke effort – although travellers should still expect to see a heavily customised seat with high-quality fittings and finish plus plenty of small yet thoughtful touches when it comes to personal space, comfort and convenience.
The end result will be a step-change from the dated 2-2 business class of the Gulf carrier's workhorse Airbus A320 fleet, which the A321neo series will replace.
Qatar Airways has 40 Airbus A321neo jets on order, alongside ten of the extended-range A321neo LR models. Both were due to make their Doha debut this year, but "we have pushed that back, the first A321 will be delivered to us in 2022," Al Baker says.
"All the aircraft that we were supposed to get from this year, have been pushed back from 2022 until 2030," he says, although "if of course we see there is a rebound, we may bring forward the deliveries of some of those aeroplanes."
The factory-fresh A321neos are intended as a like-for-like replacement for the ageing A320neos, with the LR models also earmarked for destinations with insufficient demand for a larger twin-aisle jets – a scenario that's likely to be increasingly common in the post-pandemic world where the coronavirus has sapped demand for air travel.