By Andy Sambidge
Airline CEO says June 17 flight to London Heathrow is 'significant moment' in carrier's history
Qatar Airways will launch its first A380 plane on the route from the new Hamad International Airport in Doha to London Heathrow on June 17, the carrier has announced.
The first of 13 such aircraft on order, Qatar Airways is set to receive three A380 aircraft in quick succession this summer and the new aircraft will commence operations on the QR003 and QR004 London-Heathrow route.
The A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world and will provide a superior traveller experience to the airline’s customers, Qatar Airways said in a statement.
Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said: “It is a significant moment in our airline’s history to welcome these aircraft into our rapidly expanding fleet.
"Operating on the Doha to London Heathrow route, these aircraft, with their customised cabins, will set a new level of comfort for our passengers, who will also benefit from a smooth and pleasant passenger experience at the world’s newest airport, Hamad International Airport, the soon to be opened new home of Qatar Airways.
“We are committed to offering our passengers the best possible experience when it comes to travelling with the airline, not only in terms of custom-built comfort features across all of our cabins, but with the continued expansion of our young and modern fleet.”
Hamad International Airport has been specially designed to cater to the A380 aircraft, with six contact gates designed specifically for the superjumbo.
In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which is the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.
In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’ launch customer.
This forms part of Qatar Airways' plans to significantly expand its fleet with 300 additional aircraft on order, worth more than $50 billion, including the Boeing 787 and 777X.