Slightly more than a year after Qatar Airways launched its all-premium flight from Doha to London’s Heathrow airport, the airline has confirmed it is axing the service later this year.
The business class-only Airbus A319, which started in May last year, flies daily on the popular route.
With only 40 seats in 10 rows, with two each either side of the single aisle, the service was often favored by frequent business travelers who said the aircraft size made it quicker and easier to disembark and navigate immigration, particularly in London.
The national flag carrier confirmed to Doha News it will end the service, which operates under the code QR015/016, by October 25. It said the aircraft will instead be used on its Qatar Executive charter service.
The A319 will be replaced by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as Qatar Airways expands capacity on the route, it added.
“In response to strong levels of demand on the London Heathrow to Doha route, and onwards to the airline’s global network, Qatar Airways is increasing capacity across its six daily frequencies.
In addition to the second daily A380 service which commenced service this week, Qatar Airways will replace the daily A319 all Business Class service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from this October,” a Qatar Airways spokesman said.
The service, which began on June 18, upped the number of daily flights from Qatar to the Saudi city from two to three.
Qatar Airways finally welcomed the first A380 to its fleet in September last year, some six years after it first placed its order.
The world’s largest passenger aircraft made its debut with the airline the following month, flying once a day to London.
On July 1 this year, Qatar Airways added a second A380-800 flight to the UK capital. The outbound flights currently operate as QR001 and QR003, but from October 25 will be QR003 and QR009, according to the airline’s website.
A spokesman said reports that one of the super-jumbo services would be downgraded to a A330-300 were not true. Earlier in the week, the airline’s website had been showing this information, but this had been an error while the system was being updated, the spokesman added.
Several airlines operate an all-premium service from London, including British Airways’ flight from London City Airport to New York.
One aviation analyst suggested that Qatar Airways’ all-premium service to Heathrow was always intended to be temporary as a way of maintaining a coveted landing slot at the busy airport until the carrier added additional capacity to the route.