Qatar Airways has welcomed its first Airbus A340-600 aircraft as the launch customer of the High Gross Weight Version of the passenger jet.The 266-seat aircraft, which is capable of flying non-stop between Doha and the US east coast with a full load of passengers and cargo, arrived to a fireman’s salute welcome at Doha International Airport following a flight from Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse.
During the fireman’s salute never seen before in Doha, a water arch was formed by the local Fire Service as the aircraft taxied to its parking bay.
The arrival also marked another first for Qatar Airways as the airline showed off a brand new livery. The livery change is Qatar Airways’ first since its relaunch in 1997. The revamped livery will gradually be introduced as new aircraft join Qatar Airways’ expanding fleet, while existing planes will be repainted progressively over time.
The new A340-600 HGW (High Gross Weight) aircraft has a three-class cabin layout with innovative onboard features such as dedicated First and Business Class lounges for passengers travelling in the premium cabins to unwind and relax.
Another unique feature is live television with Qatar Airways providing passengers with live streaming of a number of channels direct to passengers’ seatback TV systems. Live television has been gradually introduced this summer on selected Qatar Airways Airbus A330 long-haul aircraft operating within, and between, the Middle East and Europe.
The enhancements are part of an on-going product revamp that began last Autumn with the roll-out of a new style of onboard service across the airline’s premium cabins on long-haul flights.
The new A340-600 features 8 First Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 42 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout and 216 economy seats configured 2-4-2. The cabin layout is designed to offer the most spacious onboard environment in the air.
The airline has ordered 10 A340-600s for deliveries beginning this summer over a two-year period. The aircraft is designed to operate long-haul flights to points in Europe, United States, Far East and Australia. Qatar Airways plans to make its first foray into the North American market later this year with direct non-stop scheduled flights to the United States.
Qatar Airways’ new-look sees the tail fin painted with an image of the Oryx, the national animal and icon of the State of Qatar. Painted in the corporate burgundy colours of Qatar Airways, the Oryx design covers the entire tail fin, a significant increase in size from the current tail design.
A striking new addition is Qatar Airways’ Oryx logo painted on the belly of the A340-600, as well as the aircraft winglets.
In addition, the word ‘QATAR’ has been emblazoned in large bold burgundy letters across the forward end of the fuselage on both sides of the aircraft. The word ‘Al Qataria’ is inscribed in Arabic and light grey colour next to it.
The upper section of the fuselage is painted light grey - and the bottom half in white.
Passengers flying in the premium cabin of the A340-600 (HGW) aircraft will have the added benefit of a dedicated onboard First Class lounge allowing them to relax and eat in the comfort of their very own special area. Epitomising luxury and innovation, the new First Class lounge promises to be one of the best in the air when it takes to the skies this summer.
The lounge features a stand-up bar with drinks rack and spotlight mood lighting. It also features cream leather sofas that can seat up to six passengers. Lampshades are positioned on two teak wooden tables, while a special additional aspect is electronically-operated window shades.
The general ambience of the lounge is one of comfort and relaxation with Qatar Airways’ strong burgundy corporate colours very evident in the curtains, carpets and furniture.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker described the revolutionary changes as a “giant step forward” for the airline as it enters the next generation of air travel.
“Our new First Class lounge onboard our A340-600 aircraft reflects the importance we pay to our most loyal customers - our premium class passengers who are looking for that little more attention, privacy and comfort..”