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Sunday February 25th 2018



Qatar Airlines: The pointy end of the plane has hit peak comfort

Airlines have reached the peak of comfort for business class seats, the head of Qatar Airways declared as he marked the beginning of services between Canberra and Doha.

The airline’s chief executive Abu Al Baker said it would introduce its Qsuites in the business class cabin on the route in June. These offer passengers a sliding door to shield them from their fellow flyers, while the middle row can be converted into a quad space for groups of four thanks to rear facing seats, a feature the airline boss described as like being in corporate jet. The suites also have lie-flat double beds.

Singapore Airlines and now Qatar are the only international carriers to fly out of Canberra. The new route will fly via Sydney and pick up and drop off passengers there, with a 70 minute transit, giving Qatar effectively a second daily service out of Sydney.

Mr Al Baker said the short hop to Sydney was required because Canberra’s runway was too short for takeoff for a plane carrying enough fuel to reach the Middle East.

Qatar Airways A380 Business class
Qatar Airways A380 Business class
“We cater for everybody. If we provide the Qsuite product for the business class passenger at the front, it doesn’t mean we are not giving a good product for the economy passengers at the back,” he said.

Gulf carriers still appeal
While Qantas will soon stop using Dubai as its stopover for Europe-bound flights in favour of Singapore – and will next month begin non-stop flights between Perth and London – Mr Al Baker believed Gulf carriers remain an attractive option for business travellers heading to Europe.

He said Qatar connected Australians to more than 150 destinations across six continents, and offered shorter transit times in Doha.

“We give the opportunity to the travelling public of Australia, to go through our hub to many other cities where Qantas has withdrawn or is not operating,” he said.

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