Qatar Airways has boosted the capacity and product offering on its Sydney-Doha flights after upgauging its daily service to the Airbus A380.
The oneworld alliance member has switched the Sydney-Doha route from the Boeing 777-300ER to A380. The first flight of Qatar’s QR908 with the world’s largest passenger aircraft arrived in Sydney a little after 1900 on Friday, after a 13 and a half hour journey from its Doha hub.
The aircraft, A7-APE, was on the ground for about three hours before operating the reciprocal QR909 back to Doha.
The switch to the larger A380 represents a capacity increase of between 25 and 44 per cent, given the airline has configured the two-deck aircraft with 517 seats compared with either 412 or 358 seats on its 777-300ER fleet. The aircraft change also means Qatar is offering first, business and economy class to Sydney, while its 777-300ERs are configured with just business and economy.
“From the moment we inaugurated service to Sydney earlier this year, we have been welcomed with open arms,” Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
“We are pleased to respond in kind, with the introduction of the A380 service to Sydney.”
Statistics from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed the carrier had average load factors of 60.5 per cent inbound and 89.1 per cent outbound on its Australian network in June.
This compared with 64 per cent inbound and 95.9 per cent outbound in June 2015, when Qatar’s Australian network comprised of just Melbourne and Perth services.
Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates and Etihad offer with year-round A380 scheduled passenger service from Sydney. China Southern and Korean Air have operated the aircraft on a seasonal basis in recent times, while Asiana is scheduled to operate the A380 to Sydney on half a dozen days in November.