Qsuites Delays Qatar Airways’ New 787-9s

Filed Under: Qatar

Qatar Airways is known for their incredible Qsuites business class, which is currently available on all A350-1000s, as well as select A350-900s, 777-200s, and 777-300s.

Qatar Airways has an incredibly varied long haul fleet (they seem to think that wide body planes are like Pokemon, and they want to catch them all). The next plane that Qatar Airways is expected to take delivery of is the 787-9, as they have 30 of these planes on order.

They were supposed to start taking delivery of them soon, though it looks like that might be delayed… possibly even significantly?

Why Qatar Airways’ 787-9s Are Delayed

Qatar Airways is supposed to take delivery of their very first Boeing 787-9 shortly. The first 787-9 (registration code A7-BHA) is ready to go, with the full Qatar Airways paint scheme, and the plane has already done test flights.

So, why is Qatar Airways delaying delivery of these otherwise ready to go planes? Because the business class seats aren’t ready to go. Qatar Airways plans on installing a modified version of Qsuites on their 787-9s, but they’re having problems with the seats.

As Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker explains to AviationAnalyst:

“The good news is our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft is ready, but we have delayed the delivery because our new business class seat is not ready.

It will have QSuite – the first time QSuite will debut on the 787, but it will be a new variant, next-generation QSuite.”

Why Is Qatar Airways Installing New Qsuites On The 787?

As mentioned above, the 787-9 will be the first time that Qatar Airways puts Qsuites on the 787, as their 787-8s have reverse herringbone seats.

There are a couple of reasons they’re putting new Qsuites on these planes, and the most basic reason is because the 787’s cabin allegedly isn’t wide enough for them to install the seats without making some major compromises. For what it’s worth, the interior fuselage width of planes with Qsuites is as follows:

  • 787 — 18 feet
  • A350 — 18.4 feet
  • 777 — 19.5 feet

Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 Qsuites

It is interesting that the difference in cabin width between the 787 and A350 is only a few inches, but apparently that’s a deal breaker.

As it was explained to us in the past, we should expect something that is as private as Qsuites, but there might not be the option of forming a four person suite in the center section.

The other thing at play is that Qatar Airways wants to make the new seats significantly lighter than the current product. The current Qsuites aren’t particularly light, and that increases fuel burn and reduces cargo and other capacity, so it makes sense to make a lighter seat a focus.

Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 Qsuites

Bottom Line

Qatar Airways is notorious for aircraft delivery delays, both for reasons within their control, as well as reasons outside their control. In this case the business class seats are to blame for the 787-9 delayed delivery.

Reading between the lines, it sure seems to me like the delivery delay here might be pretty substantial. Al Baker isn’t just suggesting that the seat is awaiting certification, etc., but it sounds like they’re still in some stage of the design process?

I’ll be curious to see if we’re talking about a delay of a few weeks, a few months, or…

I also look forward to seeing just how different of a product they choose for the 787-9.

Comments
  1. Its typically not the cabin width thats the issue with these seats, although it plays some role and will require some tweaks. It usually is the size of the cabin doors that limits the size of the product that can be brought in

    I think
    A350 has ~1.26 meter opening at the door
    B777 ~1.24 meter
    B787 ~1.14 meter

  2. Is Qatar only getting 787 made in Seattle or also from the South Carolina factory that constantly makes headlines with their quality/safety problems?

  3. While I love Qsuite, I feel like the airline went style over substance for the seats (which in this case is good for the passenger, but bad for the airline). The materials the 777 Qsuite is made of seems to be extremely heavy and premium materials. I feel like it would have been a better compromise to make the base of the seat lighter and make the finishes more premium, giving it that cool look but not the heavy weight.

  4. The airline generally known for having a notoriously varied widebody fleet is Thai Airways, though it has far fewer of each type than QR.

  5. @Garrett, what JAL has is a far cry from Qatar, those are Apex seats built to fit a 787. In fact the closest seats in bone to QR is what EY has, QR just need to reference that and make it work.

  6. @Max, Qatar only gets their 787s from Seattle after constant issues with the planes from the South Carolina plant.
    From a NYTimes article:
    In 2014, factory employees were told to watch a video from the chief executive of Qatar Airways.
    He chastised the North Charleston workers, saying he was upset that Boeing wasn’t being transparent about the length or cause of delays. In several instances, workers had damaged the exterior of planes made for the airline, requiring Boeing to push back delivery to fix the jets.
    Ever since, Qatar has bought only Dreamliners built in Everett.

  7. The A350 also has constant width from door 1 backwards, while the first rows of the 787 are noticeably narrower than the rest of the plane. You can notice it in your pictures, as on the 787 the side bins are angled inwards at the front of the cabin, while they’re not on an A350.

    From a customer comfort standpoint, the A350 is a much better plane than the 787. Sad to see Qatar ordering so many

  8. It’s certification. These seats were designed for all 3 aircraft types from the get-go. Unfortunately, you have to certify the same seat, regardless of design, on each aircraft type, meaning, if the Q Suite is certified for the 777, it must pass an independent certification for the 787, which will be independent of the A350. This is all for FAA certification. You’re destroying several $200-300k seats (that’s for 1 seat, 1 passenger), in crash tests, fire, etc. If you don’t pass, you have to resubmit another quarter million dollar seat for certification.

  9. I like the Pokemon metaphor, and that actually consists of a major part of my problem with QR: an inconsistent hard product experience

  10. I love their qsuites product having flown it twice recently from ADL DOH JFK – return – in my opinion it’s the best product by far from incredible cabins , wonderful cuisine and wine paired with their gracious and friendly crew , from lounges to checkin staff – they are the best – good luck with keeping the standard high

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