Qatar Airways will wind up its exclusive all-business-class Airbus A319 flights from Doha to London in October, in favour of the larger Boeing 787 Dreamliner that offers travellers both business class and economy.
The Gulf airline had previously earmarked suspension of the 'Business One' service as a temporary measure, but a spokesman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the 40 seat jet (below) will permanently exit the route on October 24.
Adam Radwanski, Qatar Airways’ Country Manager for Australasia, noted that the Boeing 787 "will increase our daily capacity to and from London, which remains one of our most popular routes."
Radwanski also noted that "Qatar Airways will continue to operate six daily flights between our Doha hub and London", two of which feature the airline's Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The Doha-Heathrow Dreamliner takes wing from October 25 on QR15 to London and then QR16 on the overnight return.
(That schedule sees travel time from Doha to London reduced by 1hr 15m, although the journey back from London will be 30 minutes slower than at present.)
Launched in February 2014, Qatar's all-business A319s were intended to carry 40 high-paying passengers in what the airline described as "an exclusive private jet experience" with "spacious and bespoke cabins, and world-class cuisine."
Each leather-clad seat converted into a long fully-flat bed, dressed with elegant Italian Frette linen and duvet during overnight flights.
While Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 sports a superior business class seat, with more at-seat space and direct aisle access for every passenger, the Dreamliner's 22-seat premium cabin accommodates barely half as many top-tier travellers as the A319.
Photo tour: Inside Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Qatar shifted one of its A319s onto the Doha-Jeddah route to coincide with the start of Ramadan, which is a peak travel season for the region, and is expected to roster the all-business birds onto another premium route later this year.
All-business class flights to London have proved a tough nut for airlines to crack, with British Airways the most successful through its Club World London City service to New York.
This is notable not only for the fact that the nimble little Airbus A318 is fitted with just 32 business class seats...
... but that the flagship BA1 flight leaves from London City Airport...
... and makes a brief stop to refuel at Shannon, Ireland before continuing to New York with US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance for a fast exit from the airport.
La Compagnie is a more recent entrant into the market, with the self-described 'boutique airline' flying all-business class jets from New York to London and Paris.
There are a longer list of failures, however.
The most recent is Hong Kong Airlines, which shuttered its all-business class flights between Hong Kong and London's Gatwick Airport in September 2012 after just six months.
Between late 2007 and mid-2008 three business-only airlines flying to London – Maxjet, Eos and Silverjet – all collapsed due to a range of factors including a increasing oil prices and keen competition from larger airlines.
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