Qatar Airways Leasing Cathay Pacific 777s With First Class!

Qatar Airways Leasing Cathay Pacific 777s With First Class!

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It looks like Qatar Airways will be leasing some Boeing 777s from Cathay Pacific, and this has some interesting implications for the passenger experience.

Qatar Airways flying Cathay Pacific 777s to Hong Kong & Male

As noted by the awesome @AirlineFlyer, Qatar Airways seems to have plans to lease Boeing 777-300ERs from Cathay Pacific in early 2022. I’m still working on figuring out the scale of this lease arrangement — I suspect this has to do with Qatar Airways having to ground much of its A350 fleet due to fuselage issues. Keep in mind that Qatar Airways also owns a stake in Cathay Pacific.

At a minimum it appears that in February 2022, Qatar Airways will fly these planes from Doha (DOH) to Hong Kong (HKG) and Male (MLE). If you look at the seatmap, you’ll see that it matches the four class layout that Cathay Pacific has, which features 296 seats. This includes:

  • Six first class seats, in a 1-1-1 configuration; Qatar Airways will sell first class on these planes
  • 53 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 34 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration; Qatar Airways will sell this as economy, so there won’t be a dedicated service or pricing in premium economy
  • 203 economy seats, in a 3-4-3 configuration

Cathay Pacific seems to have two first class award seats available on most of these flights, so that’s kind of cool. Keep in mind that Qatar Airways otherwise only has long haul first class on Airbus A380s, which have recently been reactivated.

Of course this is of limited use at the moment. Hong Kong isn’t open to visitors, and those who are eligible to enter have to undergo a quarantine. So Male is the only practical route here, at least that I can see.

What does this mean for passengers?

There are implications here for those in all cabins. Some people will be happy to have first class on more Qatar Airways planes, as that’s not something that Qatar Airways typically offers on 777s. Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is excellent, with fully flat beds featuring direct aisle access.

Cathay Pacific’s first class

In business class it’s a different story. Qatar Airways’ 777 business class is phenomenal, as the airline is known for its Qsuites.

Qatar Airways’ business class

Meanwhile Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class consists of reverse herringbone seats, which are excellent, but not quite as good as what you’ll find on Qatar Airways.

Cathay Pacific’s business class

In economy, some passengers will be treated to premium economy seats in lieu of economy, which is quite an upgrade.

Cathay Pacific’s premium economy

So yeah, personally I’d say this plane substitution is good for those in first class, as well as economy passengers seated in premium economy. For others, I’d say Qatar Airways’ standard 777s offer a better experience.

Bottom line

Qatar Airways will be leasing some Cathay Pacific Boeing 777s in early 2022, which at a minimum will be flown to Hong Kong and Male. These will be four class Boeing 777s, meaning that these planes will have first class (and best of all, award availability is quite good).

I’m curious to see how long these leases last. It sure would be cool to see one of these flying to the United States (kind of, I guess — but only if they release two first class award seats per flight, and only if you’re one of the people who booked those seats). 😉

What do you make of Qatar Airways leasing Cathay Pacific Boeing 777s?

Conversations (21)
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  1. PointsFlyer New Member

    JFK-DOH 0702 Jan 24 seat map on Seat Alerts app is a Cathay 777-300ER 4 class. Repositioning flight! Disappointing.

  2. Points Adventure Guest

    "Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is excellent, with fully flat beds featuring direct aisle access."

    Sorry Lucky, but that's like saying "this steak is excellent, it has protein." Direct aisle access on all seats is standard on pretty much all international first class. I think what makes it excellent is the 1-1-1 configuration's spaciousness,

  3. Apso Eyot Guest

    Did Cathay finish retrofitting all of their 777s with 10-abreast economy seating? If not, for economy travelers, if they use a Cathay 777 with 9-abreast seating, it should be an improvement over Qatar’s 777s, which are all 10-abreast.

  4. Aaron Guest

    "In business class it’s a different story. Qatar Airways’ 777 business class is phenomenal, as the airline is known for its Qsuites."

    Yeah but do all of their 777-300's have Q-Suites? Or does Qatar usually fly Qsuites exclusively between those 2 destinations?

    1. Apso Eyot Guest

      I believe there are some Qatar 777s that haven’t been renovated with Q-Suites. They have their older business class seats, which are pretty basic reverse herringbones. There might even be some early delivery A350-900s that still have those seats.

  5. Eric Guest

    Well, I am looking at the exact same date/route now. And it's showing A350-900 again.

  6. Julie Guest

    What flight numbers have the flights between DOH -MLE? I have searched a bit for February and found none with the FC seatmap on ExpertFlyer. Is there a better place to find them (tried on QR website also, that was difficult)

  7. James Guest

    Do you happen to know what the earliest date Qatar is using Cathay's planes for flights to MLE? I have a business award on QR from MLE to DOH on Feb 5, 2022 and ExpertFlyer still shows QR's old business class on the 77W. I flew Cathay's first almost ten years ago and would love another chance to use that seat.

  8. Joe1293 Guest

    Will we see a trip report from
    You & Ford?
    Flying CX 777 plane operated by QR

  9. DLPTATL Guest

    Possibly Dumb Question - Is Qatar the only airline with the A350 fuselage issue? If so, that just seems odd, unless it has to do with the extreme heat at their home base.

    1. Creditcrunch Member

      It’s not really a fuselage issue but rather the paint job is sub standard and is flaking away.

    2. GuruJanitor Guest

      I'm pretty sure Finnair has also had the same problems, and might have even been the first to report it several years ago. I think there are several other operators who have had the issue but have made less of a public stink about it. Qatar is banging the drum the hardest, for whatever reason. I'm sure there are other people who can confirm.

  10. Jon Guest

    Wet lease or dry lease, do we know?

    1. SQ51 Guest

      I imagine dry as was the case with their LATAM A350s

  11. Vl Guest

    You also can fly Cathay 77W first class on Russian charter Nordwind and Azur Air lol

  12. CB Guest

    Why won’t it let you book a FC award ticket from LHR or CDG using the A380 too?

  13. SQ51 Guest

    Were you not recently thinking about a trip to Male to check out one of the Marriotts before the Bombvoy devaluation? This would be a stellar opportunity to knock out two at once...

    Please?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ SQ51 -- Your wish is my command. I already have a QR F segment between DOH and MLE on hold. ;)

    2. SQ51 Guest

      And we all know this route will never see an A380... will be waiting with popcorn

    3. Julie Guest

      What flights numbers are using this plane? I have tried to find it but can't seem to find these flights. Have they added March onto the schedule with these?

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PointsFlyer New Member

JFK-DOH 0702 Jan 24 seat map on Seat Alerts app is a Cathay 777-300ER 4 class. Repositioning flight! Disappointing.

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Julie Guest

What flights numbers are using this plane? I have tried to find it but can't seem to find these flights. Have they added March onto the schedule with these?

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Points Adventure Guest

"Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is excellent, with fully flat beds featuring direct aisle access." Sorry Lucky, but that's like saying "this steak is excellent, it has protein." Direct aisle access on all seats is standard on pretty much all international first class. I think what makes it excellent is the 1-1-1 configuration's spaciousness,

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