Qatar plans double-daily B787 service to Edinburgh

Qatar Airways expects to boost its forthcoming Edinburgh route to a double-daily B787 service, it has emerged.

Provided the expected demand materialises, the carrier will up its Dreamliner service to the Scottish capital at some point in the near future.

And Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has claimed that his airline would have deployed the aircraft to the Scottish capital four years ago had it not encountered production delays.

The Doha-based carrier will first deploy a two-class B787 on the route on May 28, initially five-times weekly (see news, November 20).

Assuming there are no further B787 delivery issues, the airline anticipates moving to a daily Edinburgh service by the end of the year.

The double daily news was broken this afternoon by The Scotsman.

Qatar Airways is the most significant new airline to serve Edinburgh for years because it will offer faster connections both to the Middle East and beyond.

Indeed, the airline claims that no fewer than 80 per cent of its Edinburgh passengers will be changing planes in Doha for onward destinations.

For example, the airline said that passengers flying to Melbourne via Doha will complete the journey six hours earlier than the current connection through London Heathrow.

However, bear in mind that when Qantas reschedules its A380 Melbourne flight later this year, flight schedule comparisons may change. (see news, February 27).

Perhaps Qatar Airways’ ambitious expansion plans at Edinburgh are designed to preempt rival Etihad’s Scottish plans for 2015 (see news, February 28).

Although Etihad has not yet announced which Scottish city it will serve, Edinburgh is tipped to be favourite on account of healthy visitor numbers and capital city status.

And as Al Baker admitted to The Scotsman, Etihad is also expected to steer clear of Glasgow, which is served by Emirates who may well upgrade its Scottish service to an A380 (see news, February 12).

So all in all, great news for Scotland. But not everything is rosy.

Those at the losing end will be the Heathrow long-haul airlines (Gulf carriers excepted) and the European carriers, serving Edinburgh, who will see yet more of their lucrative long-haul traffic syphoned off via the Gulf.

qatarairways.com

Alex McWhirter


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