Qatar Airways Set To Fly Its Airbus A380 To Manchester

Qatar Airways has submitted plans to use the A380 to Manchester next summer, replacing the B777-300ER on the main departure of the day. While it hasn’t yet been loaded into the schedules and isn’t yet available for booking, it does show its intention.

Qatar Airways A380
If Qatar Airways does use the quadjet to Manchester, it’ll be on the ground at the same time as Emirates’ A380. Photo: Adrian Pingstone.

What’s happening?

Qatar’s flag carrier is keen to use the A380 double-decker quadjet to Manchester. That’s according to Airport Coordination Limited (ACL)’s summer 2022 Initial Coordination Report, with ACL the organization that allocates slots at the airport.

It follows Qatar Airways reactivating the A380 due to ongoing issues with its A350s. The A380 was in the air on November 2nd in preparation for being reintroduced to Heathrow and Paris CDG on December 15th. However, the potential service to Manchester comes as shortly before Qatar put the UK on its red list because of rising coronavirus cases, with all the uncertainty this results in. The summer is far enough away to unlikely be affected.

Of course, there’s no certainty that the A380 will be used on Doha to Manchester, as the type’s return is meant to be a short-term and ‘reluctant‘ solution. However, Qatar Airways has certainly expressed its intention to do so, as shown in the following figure, and the author reckons it’s highly likely.

Qatar A380
The aviation summer 2022 season begins on March 27th. When writing, it isn’t known when the A380 would be used, but it’s likely to be from week one. Image: ACL.

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A380 would be used on QR27/28

In the first week of the aviation summer season 2022, Qatar Airways will have three daily flights to Manchester, with the schedule shown below (all times are local).

Doha to Manchester:

  • QR21: 01:25-06:45
  • QR27: 08:10-13:30
  • QR23: 1515-20:35

Manchester to Doha:

  • QR24: 08:10-16:55
  • QR28: 15:00-23:50
  • QR26: 21:45-06:35+1 (the next day)

It is expected that the A380 would be deployed on QR27/28, departing Doha at 08:10 and arriving home at 23:50. These times coincide with huge numbers of inbound/outbound flights at Doha, driving all-important connectivity. No wonder the double-decker will also leave Doha at 08:00 to CDG and Heathrow, returning at 23:25 and 23:50 respectively.

Qatar Airways Manchester
Qatar Airways launched Manchester nearly 19 years ago. This image commemorates its 15th anniversary at the airport. Photo: Manchester Airport.

The second A380 route to Manchester

If it happens, Qatar Airways will be the second A380 operator to Manchester, joining Emirates. The largest of the ‘Middle East Big Three’ operators, Emirates has used the type to the Northwest England airport since September 1st, 2010. The quadjet slowly became more dominant on to Manchester, with 2019 the first year that all flights were by the type.

Both of Emirates’ twice-daily Manchester services are by the A380. In the first week of next summer, EK17 arrives at 12:00 and EK18 departs at 14:05. Meanwhile, EK19 arrives at 19:15 and EK20 leaves at 21:15. If Qatar Airways does indeed use the A380 to Manchester, two will be on the ground concurrently.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Let us know in the comments.