All-business class flights have been operating in several parts of the world for years.
Now Qatar Airways is set to become the first airline in the Middle East to offer the service.
The airline says it will operate a daily business-class only flight from its hub in Doha (DOH) to London Heathrow (LHR) this spring.
“The new service will be the first of its kind in the Middle East, commencing from 15 May 2014, with an Airbus A319 aircraft fitted with an all-business class, single aisle, 2–2 seating configuration offering 40 seats,” the airline said Tuesday.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms Qatar Airways’ determination to continue its expansion drive by improving an already superior in-flight product,” said CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Air New Zealand has released what is being billed as the world’s most beautiful safety video.
“Safety in Paradise” was produced in collaboration with Sports Illustrated.
The video, shot in the Cook Islands, features several top models.
A trailer was posted on YouTube last week, generating a lot of buzz.
“The behind the scenes video has generated much conversation around the world about our brand and the Cook Islands as a destination since it was released last week,” said Jodi Williams, the airline’s head of global brand development.
“It’s exciting for us to release the full video today and we hope it will encourage many viewers to consider a trip to the Cook Islands.”
Cook Islands is about four hours by air from Auckland, and is a key destination for Air New Zealand.
The American aircraft manufacturer’s forecast came on the eve of the opening of the Singapore Airshow.
“Over the next 20 years, nearly half of the world’s air traffic growth will be driven by travel to, from or within the region,” Randy Tinseth of Boeing Commercial Airplanes told a media briefing.
“The Asia Pacific fleet will nearly triple, from 5,090 airplanes in 2012 to 14,750 airplanes in 2032, to support the increased demand.”
Boeing also projected that airlines in the region will rely primarily on single-aisle airplanes, representing 69 per cent of the new airplanes in the region.
Boeing said new low-cost carriers and demand for intra-Asia travel had spurred a substantial increase in single-aisle airplanes.
It added that this trend will continue as single-aisle airplanes gain an increasing percentage of the region’s traffic.
Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, is showcasing its new wide-body aircraft, A350 XWB, at the show.
On its way to Singapore, the test aircraft passed the 1,000 flight-hour milestone, Airbus said Monday.
“Overall the five A350 test aircraft will fly 2,500 flight hours in just over 12 months,” Airbus said.
“This achievement is further demonstration of the steady progress the program is making on its way to type certification in the third quarter of 2014.”
The six-day Singapore Airshow, which has attracted nearly 900 companies from 50 countries, opens Tuesday.
Coming soon, to a screen near you: “Safety in Paradise.”
The video was shot in the Cook Islands and features several top models.
“Safety in Paradise” will be released on Feb. 12.
A trailer of what is billed as “the world’s most beautiful safety video” has been posted on YouTube.
With an order for 80 Airbus A350s, Qatar Airways is the top customer of the new extra wide body aircraft.
The airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, was in Toulouse, France, this week to witness the production of the airplane.
“I am pleased with what I have seen during my visit,” Al Baker said.
“It gives me every confidence that the program is well on track for our first delivery in 2014.”
The European manufacturer also marked his visit by unveiling the newest A350 flight test aircraft, called MSN4, in Qatar Airways livery. It will soon join the rest of the A350 test fleet.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said in a release that an A350 will fly to the airline’s home base of Doha on Wednesday for a grand welcome at the new Hamad International Airport. A test aircrft will also go on display at next week’s Singapore Airshow.
The A350 features an extra wide cabin with a non-stop flying capability of more than 15,000 kilometres.
It will be built in three versions – A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000. In all, Airbus has received 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.
The A350 is currently at an advanced phase of flight tests and is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Last week, a test aircraft was in Canada’s Arctic city of Iqaluit for cold weather trials.