There’s a new airline in town and I’ve long anticipated its coming. Qatar Airways has commenced its daily services from Doha to Sydney on 1st of March 2016, with the first Sydney to Doha flight taking off last 02 March 2016.
This means that Sydneysiders, New South Wales, and even ACT (Australian Capital Territory) residents have a new airline option to get them to Europe via the Middle East.
Sydney is the third Australian city in the Qatar Airways (QR) network, the latest addition to its current daily non-stop flights to Melbourne and Perth with a total of 14 services each week.
The addition of Qatar Airways, a Oneworld member, will rival against the two other major Middle Eastern carriers, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Qatar Airways will use the Boeing 777-300 ER passenger aircraft which has a total of 335 seats (42 in Business Class in a 2-2-2 configuration and 293 seats in Economy in a 3-3-3 configuration). Its Business Class seats have fully flat horizontal beds reclining to 180 degrees, with a generous pitch of 78 inches and individual TV screens measuring 17 inches.
Competitive Market and Product
As a traveller (consumer), I am quite excited not just for the competitive pricing that will arise (return Business Class fares from Sydney – London with Qatar averages AUD 8,000) but also for the inevitable luxury products ‘showdown’.
At the breakfast press conference at the Shangri-la Hotel Sydney on 3rd of March, Qatar Airways CEO H.E Mr Akbar Al Baker revealed that Qatar Airways will start operating its flagship Airbus A380 to Sydney during seasonal ‘peak periods’ starting June.
Super Business Class
An even more exciting revelation, Mr Al Baker also advised that Qatar Airways will unveil its “Super Business Class” product by end of this year, most likely in December.
Mr Al Baker described the “Super Business Class” as having sliding doors as its feature, but not too closed-in as some first class cabins that could invoke claustrophobia.
The revolutionary business class design will be exclusive and patented to Qatar Airways, and I cannot wait to see it live.
What will Qatar Airways bring to Sydney?
Apart from competitive market and added options for consumers,Sydney Airport Managing Director and CEO Kerrie Mather said that Qatar Airways will also significantly boost inbound tourism to New South Wales as well as create an estimated 3,000 jobs and contribute over $240 million to the Australian economy.
Hamad International Airport
I was quite intrigued to find out that travellers who will transit in Doha have lots of things to look forward to at Hamad International Airport, the base of Qatar Airways in Doha.
H.E Mr Akbar Al Baker also leads the development of Hamad International Airport, and he himself is quite frustrated with the limitations of most hotels’ policies of set check-out times, leading to travellers spending extended periods of time at airports.
So he designed an airport that has all the comforts that a traveller may need – a hotel within the airport (which you can book in lots from 3 to 24 hours, a spa with a 25-metre swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool and even a squash court.
While I myself, won’t peruse the squash court any time, I can envision myself spending hours in the spa or experiencing shopping and dining at the airport.
H.E. Mr Akbar Al Baker also advised that Hamad International Airport now holds the fastest minimum connecting time (MCT) in an international airport – 25 minutes.
From May 2nd this year, Qatar Airways is flying to its fourth Australian city, Adelaide.
To commemorate and welcome Qatar Airways’ flights to Sydney, the city rolled out the red carpet in Darling Harbour for an evening gala.
With a sit-down dinner menu by celebrity chef George Columbaris, performances by the one and only Kylie Minogue, and a spectacular display of fireworks, Qatar Airways really knows how to make an entrance, and throw a an unforgettable party.
It also gave me the chance to get red carpet ready!
With Qatar Airways’ impressive profile (they are one of seven airlines that Skytrax has rated a 5-star airline) and a striking entrance, I am certain the addition of a new major carrier in Sydney can only bring exciting things ahead.
Sydney – Doha current schedule:
QR 909 SYDNEY – DOHA depart 22:20 arrive 05:00 the next day
QR 908 DOHA – SYDNEY depart 20:10 arrive 18:05