This May, Qatar’s national carrier is planning to launch business class-only flights from Doha to London’s Heathrow Airport, the company has announced.
In a statement, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the airline was launching the service on one of its “most popular international routes.”
Passengers who take the flight – which is slated to operate seven days a week – will ride on a 40-seat Airbus A319, which has two seats on each side of the aisle.
Onboard, the aircraft will be equipped with seats that fully recline into beds. Although mobile texting will be supported during the flight, WiFi won’t be available.
Qatar Airways currently operates five daily flights to Heathrow. This sixth flight will leave Doha at 2:50pm, arriving in the UK at 8:25pm. It will then depart from London at 9:55pm, and arrive back in Doha at 6:40am on the following day.
The service is set to launch on May 15th, and at present, the airline is charging a premium for the flight, compared to business class seats on its normal services.
The cheapest one-way ticket from Doha on the new flight on launch day will cost QR14,620 per passenger – QR4070 more than the cheapest business class fare on the airline’s other flights to Heathrow that day.
Prices published on the website today show this price differential lasting until at least June and July.
However, as is the case with all air fares, the rates will fluctuate; a Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Doha News that the fare for the route would be set “according to market demand.”
Qatar Airways is not the only airline offering a business class-only service from London in the current market – British Airways also operates one, from London’s City Airport to New York.
However, it’s still a significant move for the airline, which is in intense competition with its regional neighbors, Emirates and Etihad.
The acquisition of a valuable sixth slot at London’s Heathrow airport, which frequently operates at maximum capacity, will help it compete with its rivals – Emirates, for example, currently operates eight flights into London every day.
An airline spokeswoman declined to comment when we asked for more details about the source of the new slot.
However, it was later reported that the deal had fallen through following leaks to the media, and that Qatar Airways had “turned to a better offer” as a result.
This year, as part of its aggressive expansion campaign, Qatar Airways plans to launch direct flights from Doha to eight different cities worldwide, including Philadelphia, USA from April 2; Larnaca, Cyprus from April 29; Edinburgh, Scotland from May 28 and Miami, USA from June 10.
Would you take this new route to London? Thoughts?