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Qatar Airways unveiled a new aircraft seat that can be docked with one next to it to create what the Gulf carrier says will be the industry’s first double bed in a business-class cabin.
The berth is far more flexible than the previous generation and will also allow four seats to be realigned to create a mini meeting area, with adjustable screens creating a private suite for couples, Qatar Air said Wednesday.
“You can take your honeymoon on Qatar Airways, but you’ll have to keep silent,” Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker joked after revealing the seat at the ITB Berlin travel show. The “extra intelligent” design from B/E Aerospace Inc. will give the airline an edge over rivals in the premium market, he added.
The new berth, under development for two years, can be converted into a double within seconds, according to the company, which said the adaptability of the seats will also make them popular with affluent families and pairs of passengers who prefer to sit facing each other.
Qatar Air, which has ownership of key elements of the design, said the seats will feature in its Boeing Co. 777 wide-body jets. New aircraft arriving every 15 days from the end of June will be equipped with the berths, and they’ll be retrofitted onto one existing 777 per month.
Innovation in cabin design is vital for the world’s leading airlines, said Yan Derocles, an analyst at Oddo Securities in Paris. “Companies with poor seats lose passengers and those with good ones keep them,” he said. “Qatar has always been an airline that’s sought to present itself as ahead of the pack.”
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.