As far as the “big three” Gulf carriers go, Qatar Airways has the smallest fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft. While Qatar Airways has only eight of them in their fleet, Emirates has over 100 of the super jumbos in their fleet. As a result, Qatar Airways has been a lot more selective with which routes get the A380.
Qatar Airways’ first A380 destination out of Doha was London, followed by Paris, and then Bangkok. After that, Qatar also added A380 flights to Guangzhou, Melbourne, and Sydney. Well, Qatar Airways has now announced their next A380 destination, which certainly caught me off guard.
Qatar Airways will be launching daily A380 flights between Doha and Perth as of May 1, 2018. While Qatar has been nicely growing in Australia, I didn’t see this one coming. The flight operates with the following schedule:
QR900 Doha to Perth departing 2:00AM arriving 6:25PM
QR901 Perth to Doha departing 11:05PM arriving 5:45AM (+1 day)
This is Qatar’s shortest route to Australia (given that Perth is on the west coast), and it covers a distance of ~5,800 miles, and is blocked at 11hr25min eastbound and 11hr40min westbound. The flight is also timed to optimize connections to various points in Europe and elsewhere.
At the moment this route is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. Not only does this upgrade to an A380 represent a huge increase in capacity, but it also represents a very nice upgrade to the onboard product. Unlike the 777, the A380 features a first class cabin, consisting of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Qatar’s A380 first class
The A380 also has a great reverse herringbone business class product in a 1-2-1 configuration, similar to what Qatar Airways has on the A350.
There’s also an onboard bar on the A380, which I’d argue is the nicest one in the sky.
All of that is a huge improvement over Qatar Airways’ current 777 business class product, which is mediocre at best. It’s one thing if the 777-300ER flying to Perth were presently rostered with Qatar’s new Qsuites, though that’s not the case, and only a few routes have those seats as of now.
With the current schedule, Australia now has three Qatar Airways A380 routes, while the US has none. I guess that doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given the low yields that the Gulf carriers generally have on US routes, and that we’ve seen them canceling routes rather than adding routes lately.
If you’re looking to redeem miles for first class on Qatar Airways’ flight between Doha and Perth, there’s good news. Many flights seem to have two first class award seats available. The bad news is that it’s tough to score much of a deal on those awards nowadays. American AAdvantage charges 100,000 miles for a one-way ticket, while British Airways Executive Club charges 120,000 Avios.
What do you make of Qatar’s next A380 destination being Perth?
(Tip of the hat to AusBT)