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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Executive Travel: Inside Qatar Airways’ Private Jet Fleet

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Qatar Airways is unusual amongst airlines in that it maintains a fleet of private aircraft alongside its commercial fleet. Qatar Executive is a subsidiary of the airline that operates mostly Gulfstream private jets. With significant orders in place, this is set to expand over the coming years.

Qatar Executive G650
The Gulfstream G650 is Qatar Executive’s flagship private jet. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Qatar Airways started service in 1994,  founded by the royal family of Qatar. It initially just one leased Airbus A310 aircraft and added one more later the same year. Over the following years and decades, its fleet and routes have grown.  For a while, the Boeing 747 dominated its long-haul routes, followed by a shift back to Airbus with the A300 and the A320 for its narrowbody fleet.

Its main fleet remained all-Airbus until 2007, with a major order with Boeing for 30 787-8 aircraft and 27 777. Today, Qatar Airways operates a mixed Boeing and Airbus fleet of 234 aircraft (according to fleet data from ch-aviaiton.com).

Alongside the main airline, it also has Qatar Executive as a subsidiary company. Qatar Airways launched this in 2009 to operate private charters for clients. Aircraft are not used on commercial scheduled services, just for private hire. It also offers a contract-based scheme known as the Diamond Agreement, where users can pre-purchase blocks of flight time at fixed hourly rates.

Qatar Executive
Qatar Executive aircraft can be hired as needed or on fixed hourly contracts. Photo: Qatar Executive

Qatar Executive’s fleet

According to Qatar Executive, the airline currently operates a fleet of 11 aircraft – including the Gulfstream G650ER, Gulfstream G500, and the Bombardier Global Express XRS.

Qatar Executive is the largest commercial operator globally for the Gulfstream G650ER. It has further Gulfstream G650ER aircraft on order, as part of a $1 billion order for 18 new Gulfstream aircraft placed in July 2019. There is also an order for the larger Gulfstream G700, and Qatar Executive will be the launch customer for this in 2022.

Qatar Executive G700
Qatar Executive will launch the new Gulfstream G700 jet in 2022. Photo: Qatar Executive

The Gulfstream G650ER is an impressive aircraft – one of the fastest ultra-long-range business jets available. One of Qatar Executive’s jets was used by One More Orbit to set a new record for the fastest ever pole-to-pole flight around the world in 2019. This set a record of 46 hours 40 minutes – beating the previous record of 52 hours and 32 minutes.

Qatar Executive
The Qatar Airways and One More Orbit teams set a world record in 2019. Photo: Qatar Executive

Inside the private aircraft

All the Qatar Executive jets are configured for small group private jet travel. As with private jets from other providers, these offer luxurious interiors, with spacious seating arrangements, table space, and other furnishings.

Qatar Executive
Inside the Gulfstream G650ER. Photo: Qatar Executive

For a full look inside (and a short flight onboard) Qatar Executive’s Gulfstream G650ER, take a look at this video from Sam Chui:

In terms of passenger capacity, the flagship Gulfstream G650ER takes up to 13 passengers, with a cabin length of just over 14 meters. The upcoming G700 will expand this with a larger cabin and a large master bedroom with en-suite bathroom facilities. It also features 20 large panoramic windows.

Qatar Executive G700
Qatar Executive’s Gulfstream G700 will feature a full bedroom. Photo: Qatar Executive

It is unusual for a commercial airline also to operate a private jet fleet. Qatar Airways clearly finds this works for some of its target clients and markets, though. Have you seen inside, or flown on, any of the aircraft? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. 

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