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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.

Qatar Airways launches new routes from London Gatwick

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.

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 (95)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Sam G says:

    I would say people with existing bookings on QR should keep an eye – can imagine some down-sizing at LHR to control seats in the London market and some shuffling elsewhere to use the under-utilised A320 fleet to free up long haul capacity

    • C77 says:

      Heathrow is the premier route for QR and has heavy competition especially from EY/EK so will always feature the premium aircraft and product – A380/777 QSuite/A350. Heathrow is one airport youre unlikely to find a aircraft swap to something nasty on. If you look at other QR expansions within Europe (Mykonos, Thessaloniki, Tbilisi amongst others) these fit in well for utilisation of the A320 fleet.

  • Cat says:

    I’m desperately keen to go to Ethiopia at some point soon, but not for Addia Ababa – the Simien mountains are supposed to be incredible…

  • Flyoff says:

    The additional Qatar flights from LGW will be needed for the announcement of the joint business agreement for 14 new cities. . Adelaide, Auckland, Canberra, Goa, Hanoi, Jakarta, Manila, Maputo, Melbourne, Pattaya, Penang, Perth, Phuket and Sohar. This effectively makes Doha a hub for destinations which BA doesn’t fly to but now has an agreement with Qatar. This commences on the 1st July.

    • Rob says:

      I very much doubt that will make a huge difference – the only people who will be swung are those who search on to flights to those places. Anyone looking via any other booking channel will see the usual full list of options.

      As Qatar was a full oneworld member anyway, people were already flying them to these destinations to get tier points and Avios.

      • Zoe says:

        I have read elsewhere that the Qatar Canberra route will be the next to get the Qsuites. Without access to expertflyer how can I figure out if my flights are impacted (26/5 out 8/7 back) ?

  • Edd M says:

    No… what’s weirder is Qatar really are starting flying from CARDIFF.

    It was announced yesterday too (trailed before) and there are posters up in Bristol sdvertising the service…..

    Starts in a few months I think….

    • Lady London says:

      NOT OT Ryanair has flown for a period from any number of surprising destinations. People told me this was because local authorities paid Ryanair say, £2m to fund the opening of the route. Many of these stopped after a small number of years. Presumably because the route was found to be not viable without ongoing support? Just wondering…

  • John G says:

    I don’t think QR have any 787-9 aircraft yet so I assume you mean it will be the 787-8?

  • ChrisC says:

    Re Eurostar and Amsterdam.

    Having done it a few times the transfer at Brussels from Thalysfrom Amsterdam to Eurostar is hardly a deal breaker.

    Indeed much more efficient than many airport transits I’ve done.

    I hope they have plans for a lunchtime departure from st Pancras.

  • Wivus says:

    Good luck with the Messe Rob. Was there in February and the new halls added make it even more of a nightmare to negotiate. Still, there are the delights of Berlin to sample
    I ended up staying in the SPG listed Provocateur hotel. Lives up to its name 🙂 .

  • Tom says:

    This is awesome – thanks for advising!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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