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.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.