Qatar Airways will not serve London Gatwick this summer, despite previously begin available to book. However, fellow oneworld carrier British Airways, with which it is increasingly developing a closer relationship, will continue to operate Gatwick-Doha once-daily. Moreover, Qatar Airways’ Heathrow service will remain at the current four-daily, with the planned fifth-daily removed in the latest schedule submission. However, BA has scheduled Heathrow-Doha for summer, supplementing its existing Gatwick service. Will it happen, or is it an error?
Qatar Airways won’t serve Gatwick – for now
Qatar Airways had previously expected Gatwick to return from March 27th, the first day of this year’s summer season. It was bookable, and it was to coexist with a daily BA offering. However, it has been pulled, with the resumption date now set for October 30th, the first day of the winter season.
The cut comes despite Emirates increasing Gatwick to three-daily this summer, two by the A380 and one by the B777-300ER. It follows multiple developments at Gatwick, including BA’s new lower-cost unit, Wizz Air stationing more aircraft at the airport, and Vueling adding a base. Norse Atlantic will likely take off, while BA to Islamabad definitely will.
Doha to London: 5 (or 6) daily this summer?
Qatar Airways expects to continue its current four-daily services into summer, with the planned fifth-daily (QR10/QR11) removed in the latest schedule submission to OAG. Meanwhile, the A380, which resumed service in December, will now only be used on one rotation (QR3/QR4), down from the current two. When writing, the plan for summer is as follows, with all times local.
Notice two BA flights. According to OAG, two BA flights are scheduled, including one from Heathrow, with about the same timings as pre-COVID. However, it isn’t bookable. Is it coming back? Will BA really have two daily to Doha as part of the JV? Or is it a scheduling error and won’t materialize? It’s especially curious given Qatar’s own frequency reduction and the pair’s deepening partnership.
Doha to London (organized by departure time)
- Gatwick: BA2032, 01:05-06:20, B777-200ER
- Heathrow: QR9, variously 01:10-06:25, 01:35-06:50, 01:45-07:00, B777-300ER
- Heathrow: BA122, 06:45-12:00, B787-9
- Heathrow: QR3, 08:00-13:15, A380
- Heathrow: QR7, 08:55-14:10, B777-300ER
- Heathrow: QR15, 15:10-20:25, B777-300ER
London to Doha (organized by departure time):
- Heathrow: QR10, 08:20-17:05, B777-300ER
- Gatwick: BA2033, 14:05-22:50, B777-200ER
- Heathrow: QR4, 15:05-23:50, A380
- Heathrow: QR8: 15:55-00:40+1 the next day, B777-300ER
- Heathrow, BA123, 19:50-04:35+1, B787-9
- Heathrow, QR16, 21:55-06:40+1, B777-300ER
Qatar Airways to Gatwick: a summary
Qatar Airways first served Gatwick between 2004 and 2011, with the A330-200/300 used. The 3,244-mile (5,221km) link returned on May 22nd, 2018, by the B787-8, with the lower capacity aircraft contributing to it operating twice-daily. However, in peak summer 2018, three flights operated on Fridays and Saturdays.
The UK’s CAA shows that the airline carried 372,378 passengers to/from Doha and beyond in 2019. When related to seats for sale (483,422), it had a year-round seat load factor of 77%. That isn’t too bad in itself for a relatively recently resumed route, although it says nothing of fares.
Nearly nine in ten passengers transited Doha
Naturally, a massive chunk of Qatar’s Gatwick passengers transited over Doha. Booking data suggests that this was about 323,000, or about 87%. South Asia was the largest regional market, followed by Southeast Asia and Australasia.
More passengers connected to India, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka than anywhere else. If airport-level origins and destinations are examined, Bangkok, Colombo, Denpasar, Sydney, and Perth were the top-five.
The author traveled Gatwick-Doha-Adelaide and back in September 2019. Have you flown the route? Share your experiences in the comments.