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What’s new from Qatar Airways? New Manchester flights, innovative UV cleaning technology

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This article is sponsored by Qatar Airways

Back in June we ran an interview with Gary Kershaw, the UK & Ireland Country Manager for Qatar Airways, about how the airline was responding to the pandemic. At the time, Qatar Airways was the world’s largest airline, flying more passenger miles than the next four biggest airlines combined.

If you didn’t read it, it was very interesting and you can find it here.

We had a catch-up with the Qatar Airways team this week to see how they are continuing to deal with life under coronavirus.

Qatar Airways continues to rebuild its UK schedule

With the resumption of flights from London Gatwick at the end of August, Qatar Airways remains the biggest international airline flying into the UK.

There are currently 49 UK departures per week, comprising:

  • Edinburgh (three weekly flights)
  • London Gatwick (four weekly flights)
  • London Heathrow (four daily flights)
  • Manchester (two daily flights)

In addition, Qatar Airways has announced a further three weekly flights from Manchester starting on 15th October. This will take the airline up to 52 weekly services.

The airline is proud of its repatriation efforts to date, and has helped bring over 200,000 passengers home during the pandemic.

More South Asia routes relaunched

Qatar Airways is now running over 650 weekly flights to more than 90 destinations, giving it the largest network of any airline at the moment. The network never fell below 30 countries even at the height of the original infection wave.

Services to Pakistan, as an example, now include:

  • Islamabad (11 to 14 weekly flights)
  • Karachi (10 to 14 weekly flights)
  • Lahore (11 to 14 weekly flights)
  • Peshawar (five to seven weekly flights)

….. using modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 aircraft.

New UV cleaning technology introduced

Qatar Airways is the first international carrier to buy the Honeywell UV Cabin System.

UV light is very effective at killing viruses and can reach areas which can be missed by spraying. The lights look like this:

The airline has already received six of these new cleaning devices and is aiming to acquire more so that all aircraft can be treated each time they pass through Hamad International Airport.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said in a statement:

We are pleased to be the first global airline to operate the Honeywell UV Cabin System onboard our aircraft. In clinical tests, UV light has been shown to be capable of inactivating various viruses and bacteria when properly applied at specified doses.”

You can find out more about UV cleaning in this press release.

Qatar Airways has also introduced enhanced PPE suits for cabin crew and, as we covered on HfP, become the first airline to require passengers to wear face shields in addition to face coverings. The newest improvement are new-to-the-industry UV cleaning machines.

What is the future of the Qatar Airways A380 fleet?

Qatar Airways has one of the youngest, and therefore most fuel efficient, fleets of any major airline. As we discussed in our interview with Gary Kershaw back in June, the mix of different aircraft types has played a key role in allowing it to resume flights, with aircraft types being moved around as passenger and cargo demand changes.  

Unfortunately, there are still no plans to bring back the small fleet of A380 aircraft, which tended to be disproportionately used on routes to and from London.

Both environmentally (an A380 emits 80% more CO2 per hour than the latest Airbus or Boeing single deck aircraft) and commercially, it makes no sense to operate them at present. The cargo capacity of an A380 is surprisingly small, because of the need to fit in two full passenger decks, and cargo is currently the main revenue earner on many flights.

You can find full details of the current Qatar Airways route network and coronavirus travel policies on this page of their website.

Comments (58)

  • Nick says:

    Translation:
    “Please fly with us to Pakistan! Please please we’re so much better than Virgin and BA, who have direct flights now and are starting to eat our dinner”

    • Rob says:

      Given the current BA ‘food’, the Club World seat vs Qsuite and the fact that Qatar gives you more tier points, I think – price being equal – discerning travellers will know where to book.

      • Nick says:

        Hey I’m not knocking it… in many cases I’d completely agree. Just laughing at the blatant desperation. At the moment I think people want direct flights to save time even if it’s with crap food, but I agree when (/if) corona calms down they will be serious competition again.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        flight to Pakistan will be on a narrowbody.

        • callum says:

          In economy, I didn’t find their A320 to be noticeably less comfortable than the A350 I connected from. Though granted it was a much shorter flight.

        • Baji Nahid says:

          Actually they are flying widebodies to pakistan, B777,A359/K and the likes.

      • Lady London says:

        “current BA ‘food’ ” 🙂
        Well put, Rob

  • AndyC says:

    No mention, either, of the recent US$2 bn. bailout of the airline by the Qatari government…

  • Callum says:

    While they were extremely diligent in the airports, the cabin crew on my flights made no noticeable effort to get people to wear their masks/face shields. On the second flight, less than half of the people around me were still wearing them after the meal service had finished.

    Though having seen the atrocious levels of compliance in the UK, perhaps that’s not surprising!

    • Rhys says:

      Compliance has been pretty good in London actually. It seems to have improved since the beginning when masks were mandated on public transport etc. Certainly on the tube I rarely see anyone without one now whereas a few months ago you would almost always see someone without a mask in every carriage.

      • Callum says:

        It absolutely has not been good in South London…

        I haven’t been on a single bus or in a single supermarket without a huge proportion of the people being maskless – with many more only wearing it over their mouth not nose.

        • Lady London says:

          NorthWest and North London the same. Less compliance on buses than the Underground.

          20% of bus passengers, at least, not wearing masks this week. Previously having challenged a few, all claiming exemptions.

          This morning and yesterday in Paris in all forms of transport, 100% mask compliance.

          Is it the 200 ? euro fine France is enforcing or does France simply not have people suffering from conditions that exempt them from the requirement to go masked?

          • Genghis says:

            Don’t take this the wrong way but if I was exempt and people challenged me, I’d tell them where to go!

          • Lady London says:

            @Genghis usually I approach it with the person lightly if I can. Some get narked anyway though but it’s clear a lot of them are free riding on the rest of us who obey, or think they’re too important to have to comply.

            I simply dont believe almost everyone who is not wearing a mask is exempt.

        • Anna says:

          It’s quite baffling because here in the North West we are apparently the Covid capital of the country yet everyone wears masks in shops etc, and many people keep them on outdoors as well. In supermarkets people treat each other literally like lepers – though the stores are relatively quiet anyway as so many people get home deliveries (I had to go in Tesco today to spend my £6 coupon!)
          I don’t know where the figures are coming from as I don’t know anyone in my area who’s had Covid.

      • meta says:

        This morning around 10:30am on Victoria line compliance in my compartment was 11 out of 18 people. Five of those were wearing them under the nose.

        • Rob says:

          Odd. I have to say, in my experience of running around on the tube more than usual over the last week, that compliance is high. I even downed my coffee before getting on the tube yesterday because I thought I’d get the evil eye from people if I drank it on the train.

          • meta says:

            My experience in the last 2-3days has been different. A week or so ago, compliance was nearly 100%. I have no experience in rush hour, but there are not many people anyway so not a problem as everyone does keep distance.

          • Callum says:

            I haven’t been using the tube, but compliance on the overground, national rail and buses isn’t particularly high in my experience. Definitely higher than it was before they tightened their fake penalties, but not great.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There’s a video on bbc about tech being used at st Pancras to aid social distancing and the tech companies boss has his nose out throughout his whole part.

  • Russ says:

    So much pessimism and for an airline which makes so much effort to provide a business class worthy of the name. I’d happily fly with QR today if they’d let us in to the Middle East.

  • DB2020 says:

    The figures used to justify their decision to put their A380 fleet are misleading.

    For example, 2*B787-8 from the Qatar fleet carrying 240 passengers each (96% of total passenger capacity) vs 1*A380-800 carrying 480 passengers on the Doha to UK route will result in lesser fuel utilised by the A380 than the 2 B787-8s and lower emissions too. The 80% less emission is a statistic based on different, but lower, passenger numbers and other factors.

    For us simpleton readers, it should be sufficient for them to say that the current passenger load factor does not justify the use of the A380. It sounds like the airline is attempting to justify their position using environmental ‘benefits’ vs Emirates and their current use of the A380 on selected routes.

    Nevertheless, there are many good things about Qatar Airways. They don’t have to be disingenuous about the environment to win my future business.

    • ADS says:

      Yes, I thought the “an A380 emits 80% more CO2 per hour than the latest Airbus or Boeing single deck aircraft” quote was meaningless.

      It’s like saying that a bus uses more fuel than a car, so we shouldn’t uses buses.

      Bonkers.

  • LukeSkywalker says:

    It would be so much better if instead of ‘his excellency’, akbar was an admiral 😀

  • Lady London says:

    Can I have that new Honeywell cleaning machine in my house please ?