Qatar Airways’ first A380 to debut on London route in June
The carrier’s first double-decker Airbus A380 will make its debut on the popular London Heathrow route on June 17. The aircraft will have 517 seats in all – 457 in Economy, 52 in Business and eight in First Class.
The A380’s First and Business Class cabins – and a special lounge area for premium passengers – will both be located on the aircraft’s upper deck.
Economy seating will be split between both floors of the aircraft.
The opening of Doha’s long-awaited Hamad International Airport to all airlines, including Qatar Airways, is expected to help facilitate the aircraft’s passage.
HIA has six specially designed, double-decker gates for the super jumbo, as well as an aircraft maintenance hangar that can hold two of the huge aircraft at once.
The A380 will take over flight numbers QR003 and QR004, which leave Doha at 07:55am, and return from London at 3:05pm, respectively.
This means that the aircraft will be replacing the Boeing 777, which usually fills this slot – a marked change from comments made by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker to Bloomberg in March, in which he stated that the A380 would replace the A340 on the route instead.
The airline has not revealed any other future A380 routes, although it’s widely expected that the aircraft will also fly to Paris.
Qatar’s national carrier will not be the first regional airline to fly A380s. Dubai-based Emirates Airline has 47 of these aircraft, and Etihad is also expected to receive its first A380s this year.
In total, Qatar Airways has 13 A380s on order from Airbus. Three of these are due for delivery in June, more than six months late. The average list price for one A380 is $414 million.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s national carrier is also expecting to receive its first A350 later this year. The airline will be the first in the world to fly Airbus’ newest aircraft, which will have up to 350 seats.
After this first delivery, the airline is expected to receive nine A350s next year, followed by one new aircraft a month in 2016, and two aircraft a month in 2017.