Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has confirmed it will introduce its Airbus A380 on a second daily flight between its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha and London’s Heathrow Airport. The aircraft will replace a much smaller A330 on the service and significantly increase capacity in this important market within its network.
The arrival of the second A380 on the Doha- London route from July 1, 2015 reinforces Qatar Airways’ presence in the United Kingdom, with six flights a day between the two cities in addition to daily direct services from Doha to Edinburgh from May and double daily services to Manchester. The three-class aircraft will be operated on the ‘QR001/002’ flight.
“We are delighted to be able to offer a second A380 service from London Heathrow to Doha in response to an increase in demand from our passengers. Offering two convenient departure times from London Heathrow on the A380 will increase both choice and convenience,” said Richard Oliver, UK and Ireland country manager, Qatar Airways.
The airline first introduced the A380 on its schedules to London Heathrow in October 2014 and is one of eight airlines using the Super Jumbo on scheduled flights into the UK’s capital city this summer. Singapore Airlines were the first to deploy the type to the hub airport in March 2008, followed by Emirates Airline from December 2008; Qantas Airways from January 2009; Malaysia Airlines from July 2012; British Airways from August 2013 and Etihad Airways from December 2014. Thai Airways International will become the latest operator of the type at London Heathrow when it introduces the aircraft on its route from Bangkok in July 2015.
In the table we look at the rise in A380 departures from London Heathrow since 2008, highlighting the important role the aircraft plays in serving a market where slot capacity is severely limited and the operation of larger capacity aircraft is essential to meet growing passenger demand.
The introduction of the second A380 rotation to London Heathrow is just part of a number of schedule changes revealed by Qatar Airways in the past couple of weeks. In response to the continuous rise in passenger demand, it will increase the frequency of flights to ten additional destinations throughout the Middle East and Europe.
From May 16, 2015, the airline will permanently increase weekly frequencies to seven destinations within its network. These consist of Ta’if, Saudi Arabia; Basra, Iraq; Najaf, Iraq; Gassim, Saudi Arabia; Ankara, Turkey; Zagreb, Croatia and Athens, Greece
The permanent frequency increases will see Ta’if, Zagreb and Ankara begin daily flight services commencing May 16, 2015 July 1, 2015 and July 3, 2015 respectively. Meanwhile, the service to two Iraqi destinations will double from four to eight flights per week with Basra beginning on May 16, 2015 and Najaf on June 2, 2015 while ten flights per week will be offered to Gassim as of July 17, 2015.
The most significant increase in frequency is the launch of an additional daily service on June 1, 2015 to Athens, bringing the number of weekly flights to the popular holiday destination up from 14 to 21 per week.
Elsewhere, Qatar Airways will increase weekly frequency of flights to an additional three destinations during the peak summer period, to meet the increase in demand over the holiday season: Alexandria, Egypt will increase to 14 flights a week from June 1, 2015 to September 15, 2015; flights to Larnaca, Cyprus will increase to a daily service from June 3, 2015 to October 24, 2015; and flights to Salalah, Oman will increase to 13 flights per week from July 13, 2015 to October 4, 2015.
“Qatar Airways is committed to developing access to a number of destinations within our network which are popular with both our business and leisure travellers. Our most current frequency increases in the Middle East and Europe will provide our passengers with more flexibility and choice when it comes to planning their travel for both themselves and their families,” said His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, group chief executive, Qatar Airways.