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Qatar Airways Launches Outrageous New Program That Could Kill First Class

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First-class is not dead but it is dying. Even in 2019 the super-rich were opting more for private jets, while the leaps and bounds made in business class enticed wealthy leisure travellers to walk deeper into the plane.

Of course, as a pandemic swept the globe at the start of 2020, all airlines faced a harsh reality check. Carriers cut operations substantially and even now, as we begin the bumpy road to recovery, only some have the financial and geopolitical heft to keep operating international flights in the face of such limited demand.

Qatar Airways is one of them.

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Not only is Qatar Airways servicing more than 40 destinations from its Doha hub, but Qatar Executive, a luxurious subsidiary of Qatar Airways, has now launched a program that could see even more eyes wander from first class.

 

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Qatar Executive is a fleet of first class jets, created in 2009, which caters to global business travellers. Yesterday Qatar introduced a new feature to this Executive program, which it calls The Diamond Agreement.

An “Unparalleled Private Jet Travel Programme,” Qatar Executive’s new Diamond Agreement claims to offer maximum flexibility at industry leading pricing. How? Customers are now able to pre-purchase flight time at fixed-hourly rates on state-of-the-art long-range and ultra-long-range private jets.

“The Diamond Agreement is precisely tailored to the individual customer’s needs and requirements, offering a truly unique flying experience.”

To join this program, customers purchase a minimum of 50 hours flight time, without any associated membership fees. The all-inclusive and fixed-hourly rates cover both flight hours and taxi time.

Designed to simplify private jet travel, pre-purchased Diamond Agreement hours have no minimum annual usage and no maximum carry-over, making the Diamond Agreement program unrivalled in terms of its flexibility. Qatar Executive’s customers are also offered guaranteed availability for reservations booked from just 72 hours in advance.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “As part of Qatar Airways Group, Qatar Executive offers an exceptional travel experience for private jet customers. With the Diamond Agreement, we can now offer even more flexible and bespoke travel options for Qatar Executive passengers, who can continue to expect our high levels of service and safety onboard our state-of-the-art aircraft.”

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Qatar Executive’s Acting Executive Vice President, Mark Hardman, said: “We are truly delighted to launch our bespoke Diamond Agreement, which is tailored to suit the exact travel profile of both corporate and private clients. The programme offers the ultimate in flexibility at a fixed price. Furthermore, we understand that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, clients are looking for versatile, high-quality services from a reputable and financially secure operator.”

“During these unprecedented times, travel requirements often change and as such, our customers can rely on us for a bespoke service, with unused hours being refundable at any time.”

Qatar Executive currently operates a fleet of 18 state-of-the-art private jets and includes Gulfstream G650ERs, Gulfstream G500s, and Global 5000 aircraft. It is the proud launch customer for Gulfstream’s flagship jet, the Gulfstream G700. The new aircraft brings an unprecedented combination of performance, technology and cabin size to Qatar Executive’s fleet.

Qatar Executive says it “has maintained a robust and agile network” over the last few months “despite the challenging operational environment.”

Professor Rico Merkert from the USYD Professor of Transport and Supply Chain Management told DMARGE Qatar Airways is still operating in These Challenging Times for two main reasons: to grab market share and to make the most of infrastructure.

“Only airlines such as Qatar have the means do that (grabbing market share but at significant financial losses) in this current environment with the border situation less than certain.”

“Yes, it’s great for brand building… It is harder to gain customers than to lose them in this business (once loyalty schemes and a decent product come into play).”

 

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“They also understand the importance of aviation to their economy (as a hub with some pretty new and expensive infrastructure sitting there and lots of competition from the UAE and other places),” Professor Merkert added.

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