Qatar may lease Boeing 777-300ERs from Cathay Pacific in early 2022, according to a tweet from a tipster @AirlineFlyer. Qatar Airways has to ground its twenty A350 fleet due to fuselage issues, and it owns a stake in Cathay Pacific, so the scenario is highly possible.
The airline may fly these aircraft from Doha to Hong Kong and Male. A seat map revealed by the tipster shows a four-class seat layout that resembles Cathay Pacific’s and features 296 seats.
Seat configurations in Boeing 777
There could be six first-class seats arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration as per the layout shown. Cathay Pacific’s 777 first class is well-known for its fully-flat beds featuring direct aisle access. There will be a total of 53 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class has reverse herringbone seats, which are not rated as excellent as Qatar Airways’ Qsuites.
There could also be 34 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. Qatar Airways may sell this under economy. Besides, there are 203 economy seats too arranged in 3-4-3 configuration. Besides considering the lease option of Cathay Pacific Boeing 777, Qatar Airways already reactivated some of its A380-800s and other aircraft slated for return to lessors to cope with the grounding of its Airbus A350 fleet.
“Airbus has made a huge dent in our widebody operations. The issue is that it’s a serious matter. We don’t know if it is not an airworthiness issue. We also don’t know if it is an airworthiness issue. We have a problem, and Qatar Airways cannot sit with its arms folded and legs crossed when we have a problem. We need to solve it, and this is exactly why we are out in the market to lease aeroplanes,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said at Aviation Club Meeting in London.
Al Baker added that the airline is likely to choose Boeing and its B777X freighter for its future large freighter order.
Airbus A350s premature surface wear or paint degradation issue has disturbed many airlines and not just Qatar Airways. Airbus called the issue “cosmetic” and said there were no safety concerns. Other airlines have not grounded their A350s.