Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) is planning to retire all of its nine B777-200(LR)s and forty-eight B777-300(ER)s over the next three or four years, thus ending the operation of these subtypes by the end of 2024, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told the Executive Traveller.

"By 2025, we will have just the B777X," he said.

The retirement of the current generation B777s will have no meaningful, quantitative impact on the carrier's fleet size, given that it has firm orders for ten B777-8s (replacing the -200(LR)s) and fifty B777-9s (replacing the -300(ER)s).

Al Baker said that Qatar Airways was now working on new cabins for the B777Xs of which a very limited number could be equipped with all-new first class seating. They would operate from Doha Hamad Int'l to select European destinations, targeting primarily wealthy Qatari customers. In recent years, Qatar Airways has remained resolute that its QSuite business class seats are sufficient to cater to the needs of its highest-paying passengers.

Qatar Airways is currently the world's third-largest operator of the B777-200(LR)s, behind Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l), which operate ten each. However, Delta Air Lines plans to retire the type by the end of 2020.

Al Baker also reaffirmed Qatar Airways' plan to retire its A320-200s, A330-200s, and A330-300s in the near-term. He added that going forward, it intends to replace all thirty B787-8s with B787-9s, of which it currently operates seven. However, due to delays on the manufacturer's side, the process is proceeding slowly. Qatar Airways has 23 outstanding B787-9s on order from Boeing.