Qatar Airways has already used 8 types of aircraft at Heathrow in 1 year
Qatar Airways has served London Heathrow for 25 years. It passed from London Gatwick, which saw aircraft including the B747SR (a larger-capacity, shorter-range B747-100) operating via Cairo in both directions without fifth freedom traffic rights.
The Heathrow launch follows a change in leadership, including the arrival of Akbar Al Baker, and a fundamental shift in the carrier’s ambition. He planned to triple the size of the airline by the end of 1997.
Heathrow was at the forefront of Qatar Airways’ changes. And in the past 18 years alone, it has flown up to six daily departures, operated 11 aircraft types/variants on a regular basis and had fully premium A319 service. According to Cirium, more than 60,000 Heathrow flights have operated with more than 20 million seats for sale.
Qatar Airways at Heathrow
Doha to Heathrow is generally Qatar Airways’ main route, which is no different in 2022. According to Cirium, it has more flights, seats and available seat-miles than any other. This despite Heathrow being at 88% of its 2019 capacity and back to 2015 levels.
Still, it has around 1.5 million Heathrow seats for sale this year, with up to five departures a day. It’s not a record number, but it’s not surprising in the current environment.
In the week beginning April 2, its Heathrow flight schedule is as follows, with all local times:
Doha to Heathrow:
- 01:55-07:00; QR9; A380
- 08:05-13:10; QR3; A380
- 09:05-14:10; QR7; B777-300ER and B777-200LR
- 12:55-6:00 p.m.; QR1; B777-300ER
- 3:05 p.m.-8:10 p.m.; QR15; B777-300ER
Heathrow to Doha:
- 09:00-17:40; QR10; A380
- 3:05 p.m.-11:45 p.m.; 4; A380
- 16:00-00:40+1; QR8; B777-300ER and B777-200LR
- 21:20-06:00+1; QR2; B777-300ER
- 9.40pm-6.20am+1; QR16; B777-300ER
25 years later, Heathrow remains Qatar Airways’ largest market. Photo: Qatar Airways.
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Up to EIGHT aircraft types per year
While 2022 is mostly about two guys at Heathrow, it hasn’t always been that way. Between 2014 and 2016, Qatar Airways operated eight different types/variants, all at the same airport pair.
Take 2014. In order of seats for sale, it used the A330-300, A340-600, B777-300ER, A330-200, A380, B787-8, B777-200LR and A319.
Although not used concurrently, it generally reflects how aircraft had to be sized to suit demand and particular departures, with some connecting to/from many more places than others. The period also saw a sixth daily start.
It is also introducing new aircraft to its fleet, including the A380 (to Heathrow in October 2014) and the A350-900 (September 2016), while experimenting with a new offering.
It launched a fully premium A319LR service in May 2014. It operated 1 time per day with 40 fully flat seats in a 2-2 configuration. It was almost certainly intended to be a short-term development, perhaps to add more premium capacity on its key late-night departure from Heathrow, and it turned out. It ended the following October.
Breakdown of aircraft in operation over the past 18 years. Data source: Cirium.
Where are his Heathrow passengers going?
As you would expect, most Qatar Airways passengers at Heathrow transfer to Doha. According to booking data, around three-quarters logged on in 2019.
Heathrow on Doha to Kathmandu had more passengers than any other market, followed by Colombo, Dhaka, Bangkok, Sydney, Singapore, Denpasar (Bali), Kuala Lumpur, Lahore and Adelaide.
Although no city in India featured in the top ten origins and destinations, the country still had the most passengers at Heathrow. It was followed by Australia, Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore.
Have you walked the road? If so, on which plane? Let us know in the comments.
Big: Qatar Airways brings back 4 more Airbus A380s
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