Qatar Airways’ first and business class lounges will not be ready when the airline switches to Hamad International Airport on May 27.
CEO Akbar Al Baker said further delays to the interior fit-outs mean the lounges won’t be ready for “another two months”, according to Business Traveller UK, which recently flew into the new airport on the airline’s new A319 all-business class service. “It is such a complicated and high-end [operation] that the contractor is having difficulty keeping up with the kind of finishes we want,” he said.
Al Baker said that in the intervening period, business and first passengers “will be accommodated in lounges we already have and if we find the capacity is getting filled we have vouchers for them to use.”
It is another frustration for the carrier, which has already lost $650 million per year through the airport’s delayed opening. The launch couldn’t be put off any longer as it would delay the airline’s summer schedules and impact A380 deliveries, said Al Baker.
Qatar Airways is introducing the A380 between London Heathrow-Doha on June 17, with Paris, Frankfurt, New York and “destinations in the far east” earmarked as more A380s come on stream in the next three years.