Qatar Airways will phase out its entire Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR fleet by 2024 in favour of new Boeing 777X jets as part of a ‘green modernisation’ push which will also see the last Airbus A380 scuppered by 2028.
“We are very conscious about our emissions and we are very keen to keep on introducing fuel-efficient aeroplanes,” Qatar Airways Group CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker tells Executive Traveller.
“We are retiring the entire (Airbus) A330 fleet now, we are retiring all the 777s over the next three to four years, we are retiring the A320 aeroplanes.”
Al Baker also said that the new-for-old swap would see its Boeing 787-9s eventually “replace the 787-8s”, although this is tied to a delayed delivery of the factory-fresh Dreamliners from at least 2022. “We plan to to reduce our emissions and have carbon-neutral growth over a period of time.”
The reinvention of the Gulf carrier’s Boeing 777 fleet will be almost a like-for-like swap.
- Qatar Airways has 48 workhorse Boeing 777-300ERs, which will make way for the initial 50-strong order for the Boeing 777-9
- Qatar Airways has nine long-legged Boeing 777-200LRs, which will be replaced by 10 extended-range Boeing 777-8s
The steady draw-down of the 777-300ER and 777-200LR jets as the next-gen 777X rolls into the hangars at Doha means that "by 2025 we will have just the 777X," Al Baker says.
All of the Qatari flag-carrier’s Boeing 777X jets will feature a second generation of the airline’s highly-regarded business class Qsuite, with Al Baker confirming “we are developing new seats for the 777s.”
In addition, some of the 777-9s may also boast “a very exclusive first class cabin of just four seats,” Al Baker says, describing the under-development suites as a deliberately “very niche product” aimed at well-heeled Qatari travellers.
“We have huge demand here in Qatar to two or three European destinations” such as London and Paris, “so we may introduce a very small first class cabin for our local passengers who want a very exclusive first class product.”
However, the luxury cribs would appear on “just a handful” of the Gulf carrier’s Boeing 777-9 aircraft dedicated to those premium-heavy European routes.