Qatar Airways is making a return to London-bound passenger services starting from today, months after joining the red list. The airline is resuming flights to London Heathrow and Edinburgh Airports but can only carry British and Irish citizens and those with residency rights. Let’s find out more about this resumption.
Making a return
Qatar Airways confirmed on Twitter yesterday that it will be making a return to London Heathrow from Friday, 11th June. The carrier’s first outbound passenger flight to London since March, QR7, departed Doha at 01:45 AM local time and is scheduled to land in Heathrow at around 06:30 AM local time.
Booking data shows that Qatar Airways will be running two daily departures from its hub to London. The two flights, QR3 and QR7, will leave at 01:45 AM and 08:00 AM respectively, arriving at 07:00 AM and 13:15 PM. However, only limited passengers will have permission to fly this route due to the UK’s red list restrictions.
Under the red list, only three groups can enter the UK: British citizens, Irish citizens, and those with residency rights in the UK. Moreover, all of the above must also undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine, which costs £1,750 per passenger. All other travelers are banned from flying to the UK if they have been in a red list country over the last 10 days.
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Qatar was added to the UK’s red list on March 19th, due to the growing risk of importing variants of concern. The ban meant that flag carrier Qatar Airways could no longer carry passengers into the country. However, outbound-only and cargo flights to the UK were permitted to continue.
Nearly three months later, Qatar has resumed flying inbound passengers to the UK. In addition to London, Qatar is also returning to Edinburgh Airport. The carrier will operate two weekly flights on Wednesday and Friday, leaving Doha at 07:55 AM and reaching at 13:25 PM local times.
Similar restrictions apply to those arriving in Scotland, including the pre-flight testing and hotel quarantine. The flights will be a huge boost to those living in Qatar or in one of the countries across its network.
While Qatar remains on the UK red list, and could be there for a while, the resumption of flights is a positive step. As the summer rolls around, passengers can easily book flights with the airline and across its network. However, taking a direct flight back from an amber destination could help to avoid the hefty hotel quarantine charge.
Emirates also returned to outbound passenger flights to the UK this week, starting services on Tuesday. The carrier had been only flying passengers out since January when it was added to the red list. For now, keep an eye out for the restrictions as you plan your summer vacations.
What do you think about Qatar Airways returning to London? Let us know in the comments!