Qatar Airways continues to maintain its position as the leading international carrier providing global connectivity to the UK with the resumption of daily flights to London Gatwick starting 20 August 2020. The flights will be operated by the airline’s modern fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner offering 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. The resumption of London Gatwick services will see the airline’s UK operations expand to 45 weekly flights to four gateways in the UK with the following weekly operations:
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.
“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.”
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.
“Alongside our airlines, Gatwick has implemented a number of extra measures to keep both passengers and staff as safe as possible travelling through Gatwick, which is helping to rebuild public confidence in air travel.”
Qatar Airways Cargo currently operates eight freighter per week to London Heathrow and London Stansted in the UK. During the pandemic, the cargo carrier operated a large number of charters and freight-only passenger aircraft to the UK to support British exporters and transport essential medical supplies and PPE to the region. With the resumption of passenger flights to London Gatwick, Qatar Airways Cargo will operate 74 weekly flights to the United Kingdom, providing more than 1,400 tonnes of weekly cargo capacity each way.
The airline’s mix of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant its network has never fallen below 30 destinations throughout this crisis. With one of the youngest long-haul fleets, the airline has been able to adapt its plans and quickly resume routes to rebuild its global network. By optimizing its mix of aircraft and grounding its A380 fleet, the airline continues to fly only the right sized aircraft on all routes to the UK, reducing its environmental impact by offering sensible and responsible capacity to meet both passenger and cargo demand.
According to the latest IATA data, since April Qatar Airways has become the largest international carrier, helping take home over two million people on over 20,000 flights. This has enabled the airline to accumulate unrivalled experience in carrying passengers safely and reliably and uniquely positioned the airline to effectively rebuild its network. The carrier has stringently implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures on board its aircraft and in Hamad International Airport – from introducing enhanced PPE suits for cabin crew, to becoming the first airline to require passengers to wear face shields in addition to face coverings.
Additionally, passengers flying Business Class on Qsuite equipped aircraft can enjoy full privacy, including sliding privacy partitions and fully closing doors. Passengers can also opt to use the ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator in their private suite, if they wish to limit their interactions with the cabin crew. Qsuite continues to be available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Sydney, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s, as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. The airline’s internal benchmarks identified that the A380 emitted over 80% more CO2 per block hour on certain routes to the UK with the A350 saving around 16 tonnes of CO2 per block hour. Until passenger demand recovers to appropriate levels, Qatar Airways will continue to keep its A380 aircraft grounded, ensuring it only operates commercially and environmentally responsible aircraft.
Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points. HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.