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Not Long Now: Just 2 Weeks Until Qatar Airways’ A380s Re-Enter Service

It’s nearly two weeks until Qatar Airways’ A380s once again take off on revenue-generating services. They’ll be used from Doha to London Heathrow and Paris CDG. While the carrier has said it’s just a temporary measure, they are scheduled until at least December 2022, the latest period data is currently available.

Qatar A380
Qatar Airways’ A380s have 517 seats, with eight in first, 48 in business, and 461 in economy. Photo: Getty Images.

What’s happening?

On December 15th, Qatar Airways will again use its double-decker quadjets commercially to Heathrow and Paris, historically the carrier’s top two most significant A380 destinations by flights. It follows the airline reactivating the type due to ongoing issues with its A350 twinjets.

However, it comes as Qatar put the UK on its red list because of rising coronavirus cases, and it is despite the UK now necessitating self-isolation and a PCR test for all arrivals because of Omicron. France has closed borders to nationals from Southern Africa.

Shortly before Christmas, Qatar Airways will have three A380 departures from Doha each day, as shown below with all times local. Two leave so close together because that is the carrier’s peak departure bank to Europe and North America, fed by arrivals across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

  • QR009: Doha to Heathrow: 01:50-06:20
  • QR003: Doha to Heathrow: 07:40-12:10
  • QR039: Doha to CDG: 07:55-13:05
Bank structure Doha
This shows Qatar Airways’ arrivals (blue) and departures (green) at Doha in the week starting December 15th. QR003/39 will leave in the peak departure period and arrive back shortly before midnight in the primary arrivals bank. Image: OAG.

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Will Manchester materialize?

Earlier this month, we showed that Qatar Airways is keen to use the A380 to Manchester next summer, according to its schedule submission to slot coordinator Airport Coordination Limited.

It isn’t yet bookable and might not happen, but we reckon there’s a high probability that it will. If it does, the A380 will be deployed on QR27 that leaves Doha at 08:10, fitting nicely into the above pattern. It is all about demand and connectivity.

Qatar Airways, Airbus A380, Flight
The A380 will likely be used to Manchester next summer on one of the carrier’s three daily flights. Photo: Qatar Airways.

Never a big A380 user

Qatar Airways began using the type in October 2014 and has ten aircraft. Four were delivered in 2014, two in 2015, one in 2016, two in 2017, and one in 2018, according to ch-aviation.com.

Between 2014 and 2019, Qatar Airways had the eighth highest number of A380 flights, sandwiched in-between Korean Air and Etihad Airways, based on analyzing schedules data from OAG. It had just four in every 100 services.

Qatar A380
When writing, A7-APG, delivered in 2016, is in the air as “Qatar 9932” in preparation for re-entry into service. It has flown every day recently. Image: Radarbox.com.

Nine airports have seen Qatar Airways’ A380s

Only nine airports have welcomed the airline’s double-deckers, and these include a one-off to Atlanta in 2016 to commemorate the inauguration of the route. In order of total flights, regular destinations were Heathrow (launched in 2014), CDG (2014), Bangkok (2014), Sydney (2016), Guangzhou (2016), Melbourne (2017), Perth (2018), and Frankfurt (2019).

What is your experience of flying the airline’s A380s? Let us know in the comments.

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