The biennial Paris Air Show is one of the biggest events on this year's calendar of aviation events. The Paris show, which alternates each year with a sister show in Farnborough near London, is often a platform for major news announcements by both airlines and industry manufacturers.
This year, Qatar Airways used the event to promote the new "Qsuite" business class seats it plans to install on its long-haul Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft. To do so, the Doha-based airline brought in one of its Boeing 777-300ER jets – the first to get the new Qsuites cabin – to show off to media and visitors in Paris.
Qatar Airways says the patented seats feature "the industry's first-ever double bed available in Business Class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room." The cabin is configured in a 1-2-1 layout. The center-row seats feature the option to lower the privacy panels for a shared experience between adjacent fliers.
"We are tremendously excited to showcase the first aircraft fitted with our revolutionary new Qsuite here in Paris," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement accompanying its Qsuites ceremony at the Paris Air Show.
"This product will transform premium travel by bringing a First Class experience to the Business Class cabin," he added. "With this innovative offering – which features the first-ever double bed in Business Class - we have set a new standard for the industry, one which demonstrates our continued commitment to providing the finest possible experience for our passengers."
A small number of other airlines – notably Singapore Airlines and its luxurious Singapore Suites cabin and Etihad's enormous "Residence" seat – also offer a double-bed option. But space in those seats can cost upwards of $15,000 and they're more akin to a first-class cabin that's offered on select aircraft alongside a separate business-class cabin.
As for Qatar Airways' Qsuites, Al Baker says "we look forward to the debut of Qsuite on our Doha-London Heathrow route this weekend."
Beyond that, the airline says it will retrofit the rest of its long-haul fleet with the new seats at the rate of one plane per month. Qatar Airways currently has 43 Boeing 777s and 15 Airbus A350s in its fleet, according to the company. It is expected that a slight different business-class update will be added to the carrier's Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 widebody jets as their dimensions are problematic for the width of the Qsuite footprint, according to Australian Business Traveler.