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Qatar Airways launches THREE daily flights from London Gatwick

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On a one to ten scale of weirdness, this is – on the face of it – quite high.

At the ITB travel show in Berlin yesterday (and where I am today) Qatar Airways announced two to three new daily flights between London Gatwick and Doha.

The flights will start on 22nd May with two new daily services.

A third service will run on Friday and Saturday between 15th June and 29th September.

All flights use a Boeing 787-8, so this will be the very good herringbone layout in Business Class and not the new Qsuite.  My review of that seat is here.

Qatar Airways launches new routes from London Gatwick

This is a lot of extra capacity to add into the market with just three months notice.  The continuation of the blockade with the UAE is stopping Qatar Airways being used as a cheaper indirect option to get to Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Late May is also a bad time to start a service because you are entering the peak Summer months where Doha as a final destination starts to look very unattractive due to the heat.   Adding a 3rd daily flight just as the heat becomes unbearable is even odder!  Most people will choose to transfer onwards, of course.

I get a feeling that this is linked to British Airways and its need to ‘use or lose’ the Gatwick slots it acquired from the administrators of Monarch.  BA has possibly given its biggest shareholder free use of three slot pairs.

BA and Qatar Airways have a joint venture on routes between London and Doha so British Airways will be getting a cut of the revenue.  This may also allow British Airways to effectively drop its own Doha service – which has been suspended for a while – to free up an aircraft whilst the 787 fleet is awaiting engine repairs.

The press release is here.

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Comments (96)

  • Edwin W Davies says:

    Thinking of booking an autumn break to Aviginon or Marseille. Can anyone confirm these are available for 15000 return or is that rate only applicable to short trips to Paris or Brussels. Is the upgrade to Premier from Standard worth the double points?

    • Rob says:

      Everywhere is the same redemption price. The Standard Premier food in itself certainly isn’t worth the extra points so it is really down to whether you want a bigger seat and a quieter, less busy, cabin. I always book Standard Premier but I am not short of Amex points. Given the length of the trip the upgrade is decent value on a ‘points per hour’ basis.

  • Saira says:

    I flew Ethiopian a couple of years ago to Burundi via Addis Ababa and Nairobi in economy. Seats were comfortable, good service and meals. Connecting flights within Africa can be changed last minute (initially my connection should have gone via Kigali) and timings can be changed, so that’s a con if you’re on a tight schedule. Transit at Addis was as comfortable as it can be without lounge access; they have plenty loungers to lie down on as well as standard seating, a meal voucher was provided as transit time was over a certain number of hours and a decent selection of items in duty free. It is a really busy terminal, and you do feel totally surrounded at times. My mother flew business with them on separate dates and was happy with the lounge and special assistance (wheelchair). My regional flight back to Addis was on a Bombardier Q400… Now that was an interesting experience!