Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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)

  • Henry Young says:

    I’ll be heading back to Philippines in a couple of weeks. Qatar have made it impractical to book a return flight with them simply because they require a PCR test to depart Philippines on the return leg, while other airlines such as Cathay Pacific do not. Qatar require the PCR test to have been done no more than 96 hours prior to departure. In Manila the waiting list for even a priority PCR test is 1 week. Well done Qatar – you just placed Manila’s ability to deliver efficient PCR tests into your business process critical path. Fail !!!

  • Mark R says:

    Not keen on these “sponsored by” articles, essentially a press release for the airline/hotel with little or no journalistic opinion.

    • Blenz101 says:

      What is there to opine on? Should the HfP team be qualified to comment on the efficiency of UV cleaning methods?

      The route updates are similar to the recent ones from BA and are focused on frequencies from U.K. airports in the main.

      The fact that the site has a good working relationship with the airline I see as a benefit.

    • Andrew says:

      “Qatar Airways remains the biggest international airline flying into the UK”

      Bigger than BA? Easyjet? Ryanair? Jet2? All of those are ‘international’.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        In terms of passenger miles flown they could well be bigger.

        • Andrew says:

          Passenger miles flown total irrespective of origin or destination maybe but what would be the point of that stat? Passenger miles flown in or out of the UK they wouldn’t even be close.

          • callum says:

            I assumed they just meant foreign airline, though as you say, Ryanair would surely be higher.

            As to complaining about a sponsored article, I don’t see why it matters. It says it’s sponsored at the top, just don’t read it if you don’t want to. There’s been one or two occasions where I’ve taken issue with the sponsored posts where they give misleading levels of praise to the inferior product they’re advertising, but this is just a generic fluff piece – what’s the issue?

          • mr_jetlag says:

            Means just as much as “world’s favourite airline” I suppose 😉

    • cinereus says:

      Yeah, wish there were a way to filter them out of emails.

      • Rob says:

        Advance warning – there’s another one tomorrow 🙂 To be fair, that’s a standard format article.

  • Mike White says:

    No mention that they have just pulled out of Cardiff and Birmingham! Rather noteworthy in terms of one of the precepts of the article.

    • John W says:

      I agree, for those who have travelled with Qatar from Birmingham and Cardiff , it would have been good to understand the future of these routes .

    • Pangolin says:

      Came here to say this.

      Alongside the recent route announcements by VS and BA, it’s truly amazing that no airline can see the case for a PK route from BHX.

  • Andrew says:

    No mention of the near-normal service still being offered in business class. Unlike some airlines they aren’t using Covid as an excuse to cut costs and be lazy in the way service is offered by the crew. Qatar are also offering free inflight WiFi until January:
    https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/09/29/qatar-airways-offers-100-days-of-free-inflight-wifi/

  • ChrisC says:

    UV light only works in direct line of sight. Can it shine under the seat or down the cabin wall where the seat is? If the tray table is stowed it can only zap the back of it and not the top.

    The area shaded by the anti Macassar wont get lit by the UV for example.

    Whereas you can put an electrostatic spray wand under a seat etc

    It’s a useful tool in the armoury for what it can do within its limitations and that’s it.

  • Yuff says:

    It would be handy if they could sort their differences out with the UAE, Qatar not the airline 😜

  • Thomas says:

    All the ads of airline companies shouting” Look, we are flying all these routes” means nothing if people can’t get on them because of daily changing covid legislation, visa requirements, and non available testing! I was fully expecting Qatar to come up with a ground breaking solution to provide every passenger with a test kit linked to a local lab for testing, linked to an app for negative certificate delivery. Now that would be 5 *……

  • ChrisW says:

    The route network, and onboard cleaning is not the issue. Right now there is virtually nowhere anyone reading this can travel long-haul.

    Booking travel for next year is a largely pointless exercise because I don’t know when, how or where we will be able to travel. I don’t want thousands of pounds tied up in vouchers that I don’t know when or if I can ever use. I’m struggling to keep track of all the BA Future Travel Vouchers I already have.

    As much as I miss long-haul travel, until I can actually do it, I’m not booking anything.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.