The commercial stakes on the already competitive London-Gulf sector have been raised a further notch today by Qatar Airways’ launch of all-business class flights on Airbus A319 aircraft.
Qatar becomes the first carrier to operate an all-business class flight from London Heathrow (Terminal 4) with its ‘Business One’ service, which becomes its sixth daily flight to the English capital.
The single aisle aircraft, configured in 2-2 seating, offers 40 premium business class seats which recline into flatbeds.
Qatar sees demand for a focused premium product, even if its premium travellers flying between Doha and London already have plenty of choice, which will further increase when the airline’s A380s start service from June 17 – its first class seat will feature a 90-inch seat pitch which also transforms into a flatbed.
Online prices for the all-business class, currently priced at QAR23,700 return, are in line with its other premium fares.
Gulf travellers are also spoilt for choice with Emirates’ and Etihad’s flights into London, which also heavily target premium passengers. Etihad’s upcoming Residence, with butlers on board, and investment in business ‘studios’, indicates the battle for high-end traffic is set to intensify.
It’s understood passengers cannot access the internet on board Qatar’s new London service, but texting through GSM and GPRS is available. The airline also operates a B787 Dreamliner on the route, which does offer on-board wifi.
The airline will launch new services to Hofuf in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, and two more new routes will enter service this month, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (May 22) and Edinburgh (May 28).