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Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker doubled down on his word that the airline could leave the Oneworld Alliance. And, the final decision could come sooner than expected. During a press conference at ITB Berlin on Wednesday following the unveiling of Qatar’s new economy seat, Al Baker said that the carrier will make its final decision on whether or not to leave the alliance within the next two months. “In the matter of a month or two, we will give you the news if we are going to stay or withdraw [from Oneworld],” Al Baker said. “I think it is the latter that will happen.” Since 2015, Qatar has threatened to leave Oneworld, though that tone has come in spurts. More recently, as of October 2018, Al Baker’s harsh exit words have hit stronger and more often, as he’s doubled down on his stance that the Middle Eastern carrier will depart. During Wednesday’s press conference, Al Baker insinuated that the carrier will leave, and when it does, it’ll have a lasting affect on the state of the alliance. “If we leave Oneworld, we will create a big hole for them in their entire connectivity,” Al Baker said. Al Baker’s voiced his frustration with certain members of the alliance — specifically, though not explicitly mentioning, American Airlines and Qantas — for not treating Qatar with the same respect as the other members. “We have given them breathing space to get their act together,” he said. “As an airline, we will demand respect and not submit to anybody trying to bully us.” By the sound of it, things haven’t improved and Qatar could soon see its way out of the alliance. If it does indeed leave Oneworld, the move could have negative consequences for American Airlines and British Airways flyers who have long earned AAdvantage and Avios miles, as well as elite-qualifying credits when flying with Qatar. https://thepointsguy.com/news/qatar-oneworld-decision-2-months/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_term=editorial&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=100000283516778 ________________________________ Vamos ver se não é mais uma bravata do AAB. A empresa anunciou novos destinos para 2019: Izmir, Malta, Rabat, Davao, Lisboa, Mogadishu e Langkawi. Há outros sete destinos a serem anunciados.
By JT Genter In a press conference after the unveiling, Al Baker confirmed that the first aircraft to get the new Qatar economy seat will be its soon-to-be-delivered Airbus A321neo and A321LR aircraft. Qatar is set to begin taking delivery of the A321neo and A321LR later this year, and they will feature both the new economy class seat and a new version of a business-class seat, which presumably was not ready to be unveiled on Wednesday. The A321neos and A321LRs are set to replace some of the older aircraft in Qatar’s mostly young fleet. Specifically, they’ll phase out some of the A320s in Qatar’s fleet, and even replace the A330 on some routes. Unlike its Middle Eastern rival Emirates, which currently only flies Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft, Qatar’s short- and mid-haul fleet utilizes narrow-body aircraft — consisting of two Airbus A319, 35 Airbus A320 and six A321 aircraft. For each of the narrow-body aircraft part of the fleet, the economy-class cabin is arranged in a standard 3-3 configuration. Al Baker confirmed that the new economy seat won’t be limited to just the A321neo. It’s expected to be rolled out across the airline over time, next appearing on Qatar’s 777X aircraft, of which the airline has 60 on order. No retrofit schedule was shared in the initial presentation, but Al Baker later shared that it would be 5-8 years before the new economy seat is installed fleetwide. New “Quisine” Soft Product There’s two aspects to this new economy product: The new seat and an improved soft product, which Qatar is naming “Quisine.” While details are fairly slim at this point, Qatar had a display of the new soft product items at the unveiling that showed examples of the new meals, snacks and kid-focused items. The details that the airline did share shows that Qatar is going big with these changes. Qatar promises “generous portions” with a 20% increase in the size of appetizers, 25% increase in main courses and a whopping 50% increase in desserts. Qatar is also “going green with Quisine,” claiming an 80% increase in recyclable and biodegradable products and that 80% of the tray items comply with the ban on single-use plastic. While it’s going to be years before the seat is rolled out across the fleet, it won’t be long before economy passengers start enjoying these soft product improvements. Al Baker announced that Quisine will roll out “from April” and expand to the entire network by the end of 2019. Details of the Seat Just like when it unveiled its new Qsuite product, Qatar had a true version of its product on display at ITB Berlin. And we got a few minutes to explore it for ourselves. Here’s what we found: Headrest: The new economy seat has a headrest that can be shifted upward and has adjustable wings. While economy passengers are likely to use to these features on nice long-haul economy products, this is a very nice feature to have for short- and mid-haul flights. Tray table: The new economy seat has two tray tables: A bi-fold standard tray table and an additional tray table with cup holder with a non-slip bottom, which could be useful if you wanted to bring your own entertainment device. Recline: The seat is designed with a “semi-fixed back shell design” with a pre-recline of six degrees. The seat’s recline feature adjusts the seat bottom forward rather than the lowering the seatback. That’s going to be welcome news for those of us that need to work on our laptop in economy. However, it’s likely not going to be as comfortable for those trying to sleep. Qatar claims that the seat has “a 19-degree recline system.” Inflight Entertainment: The seatback of the new Qatar economy seat has a 13.3-inch inflight entertainment display with 4K resolution. For those that want to Bring Your Own Entertainment, the seat has a USB type C outlet “with high power fast charging capabilities.” Qatar is also committing to provide “connectivity at all flight levels” through its Inmarsat-powered Wi-Fi system. Details are light, but Qatar claimed at the press conference that the Wi-Fi speeds would be “up to 10 times faster.” Seat pitch: The pitch of the seats on display measured 30 inches. However, it’s unclear if this will be the actual seat pitch installed. Despite the limited seat pitch, the seat’s curved design left plenty of room for my knees. Both Qatar’s A320 and A321 economy seats currently feature 31 inches of pitch, while the A319 varies on seat pitch offering between 31 and 32 inches. So, a decrease to 30 inches could mean Qatar is planing a denser economy product. Bottom Line While this new economy seat isn’t nearly as revolutionary as Qatar’s Qsuite business-class product, it’s encouraging to see Qatar focus on improving the economy experience. The seat includes many features that some of the best long-haul economy seat products have, yet it’s debuting on Qatar’s short-haul and mid-haul fleet before being retrofit onto other aircraft. The 5-8 year range for completion of the retrofit means that it’s going to be a while before economy passengers can know that they’ll find this product on board their flight. However, in the meantime, Qatar economy passengers can expect improved meals and soft product items starting in April 2019. All photos by the author. https://thepointsguy.com/news/qatar-new-economy-quisine-unveiling/
Qatar Airways Announces Its Acquisition Of 5.00% Of China Southern Airlines 02 January 2019 HONG KONG - Qatar Airways Group Q.C.S.C. ("Qatar Airways") is pleased to announce that as part of its strategy to invest in the strongest airlines around the world and continue enhancing operations and network connectivity, on 28 December 2018, it has completed an on-market purchase of certain A shares and H shares of China Southern Airlines Company Limited ("China Southern Airlines"), resulting in our aggregate holding of approximately 5.00% of the total issued share capital of China Southern Airlines. Qatar Airways’ Chairman His Excellency Mr Ali Shareef Al Emadi said, "Qatar Airways regards our shareholding in China Southern Airlines as an important part of our strategic investment in the largest airline in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets.” Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker added, “China Southern Airlines is one of the most prestigious airlines in the Chinese domestic market and an important market player in the world, with massive potential for cooperation in the future. Given the complementary strengths and resources of each of China Southern Airlines and Qatar Airways, there are opportunities for us to work together and build a long term relationship in ways that would bring benefits to customers of both airlines. The investment is a clear demonstration of Qatar Airways’ continued commitment to connecting travellers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient. Qatar Airways very much looks forward to the opportunity to deepen our working relationship with this great airline and further enhance the travel opportunities across the globe." This investment further supports Qatar Airways' investment strategy which already includes its 20% investment in International Airlines Group, its 10% investment in LATAM Airlines Group, its 49% investment in Air Italy and its 9.99% investment in Cathay Pacific. https://www.qatarairways.com/en/press-releases/2019/January/QRCHINASOUTHERNAIRLINES.html?activeTag=Press-releases&CID=SMALL0678502232000000001105