LONDON – Qatar Airways (QR) announced today that it would continue to rebuild its UK network by adding London Gatwick (LGW) back on its destination list for the first time. The decision comes after UK and worldwide restrictions on flights during the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown start to ease.
With this announcement, it will now see the carrier increase its UK network to four destinations with more to follow. This is a good sign, as restrictions to certain countries around the world continue to be eased.
Qatar Airways said that the flights from its hub in Doha to Gatwick will be operated with the carrier’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The cabin configuration of the type comes with 22 seats in Business and 232 seats in Economy class.
The carrier also confirmed that just like it has done in the U.S. network, it would be increasing the number of services expanding its UK operations up to 45 weekly flights.
Out of its current network of four UK destinations, QR announced service increases to Edinburgh (EDI) on a three-time weekly service, London Heathrow (LHR) to a three-time daily service, Manchester (MAN) on a two-time daily service and finally LGW, which will be operated on a one-time daily service schedule.
Comments from Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said, “We are very pleased to resume flights to London Gatwick, further cementing our position as the leading international carrier providing connectivity to the UK.”
“UK passengers can connect seamlessly and safely via the Best Airport in the Middle East to more than 40 destinations across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and South Asia.”
H.E Mr. Akbar Al Baker added, “The UK is a very important strategic market for Qatar Airways, and we are proud of our repatriation efforts to-date including never stopping services between the UK and Doha that have helped bring over 200,000 passengers home. “
“The resumption of London Gatwick services is a significant indicator of the resilience of the UK travel market, and we look forward to resuming more of our UK destinations to support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region.”
Welcomed News to Struggling UK Airports
The announcement is welcomed news to UK airports. They have been struggling due to the constant changes in travel restrictions that have seen many airlines close a large number of routes and reduce flights and staff numbers. London Heathrow and Gatwick are some of the worst affected primary UK hubs.
Gatwick Airport CEO, Mr. Stewart Wingate, said, “We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways back to Gatwick after what has been a challenging time for the whole industry.”
“To be able to offer Gatwick passengers the opportunity to fly to Doha– a fantastic city in its own right and a gateway to destinations across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand – is another positive step in the recovery process.”
Qatar Airways is one of the most popular airlines in the UK, operating flights pre-COVID-19 to all UK major hubs and to some secondary airports, such as Cardiff in Wales.
However, despite the steady rebuild of its network, there has been no confirmation from the airline as to when it will look to once again expand back into the secondary airport services.
This announcement has seen the UK become the next destination of focus for the carrier as it continues to rebuild it’s pre-COVID-19 route network around the world. The carrier announcing additional flights to the U.S and Australia last week.
Passengers Placed First
As one of the leading global airlines, QR now offers business class passengers the option of the ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator for their private suites. The option will allow customers not just privacy but also the ability to limit their interaction with cabin Crew as much as they wish too.
With this, the airline said that the introduction of its A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners across its entire network now means that its award-winning QSuite is now available on flights to more than 30 destinations around the globe, including London, Sydney, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
Data released from IATA (International Air Transport Association) showed that since April, QR has become the largest international carrier post-COVID-19.
The airline has transported over two million people on over 20,000 flights. It is also leading the way for customer safety on flights, becoming the first airline to require passengers to wear face shields in addition to face coverings.
Featured image: Qatar Airways Airbus A350-941 A7-ALS