Qatar Airways will boost its daily capacity into Melbourne, Australia by more than 40 per cent from the end of June next year as it switches the operation of its flights from its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha from a Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380 to cater to robust inbound and outbound travel demand.
The Gulf carrier first introduced flights between Doha and Melbourne in December 2019 initially using a 777-200LR, but switched to the larger 777-300ER from April 2014 to meet the rising demand. The Super Jumbo will now be introduced from June 30, 2017 and will boost daily seats to 517 in each direction, comprising eight seats in First Class, 48 in Business Class and 461 in Economy.
“As we continue to grow apace in Australia, we have seen a clear need to inject additional capacity on the Melbourne service. We are delighted to introduce our A380 aircraft to Melbourne after seven years of operation to the world’s most liveable city,” said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer, Qatar Airways Group.
Melbourne was the original home for Qatar Airways in Australia, with the airline subsequently adding services to Perth, Sydney and Adelaide. With the growth from the original 777-200LR to the A380, the airline has actually doubled its daily capacity since the start of the route while retaining just the single flight rotation.
Qatar Airways says the deployment has been part of its development plans and is not a reaction to the news this week that Qantas may end its own Melbourne – Dubai – London A380 operation as part of its plans to introduce the first non-stop flights between Australia and the UK on the Perth – London route.
The airline’s traffic into Melbourne is largely filled from connecting flights in Doha from Europe, a fact highlighted by Al Baker. “Our expansive European network provides plenty of homecoming options for one of Australia’s most culturally diverse cities, which is home to many families from European heritage including the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece,” he said.
Our own analysis of the AirVision Market Intelligence tool from Sabre Airline Solutions shows that Qatar Airways has carried around 1.1 million two-way passengers between Doha and Melbourne in the seven years it has served the route. From an estimated 130,000 passengers in its first full year of operations in 2010, it will this year carry around 230,000 passengers.
In the last year (12 months to October 2016) around 95.5 per cent of passengers flying from Doha to Melbourne began their journey behind the Gulf hub with the largest proportion of passengers connecting from destinations across Europe. In fact the top three O&D markets on the route were London Heathrow – Melbourne, Athens – Melbourne and Paris Charles de Gaulle – Melbourne. Overall an estimated 140,000 two-way O&D passengers flew between Europe and Melbourne via Hamad International Airport in Doha during the 12 month period.