Airline News: Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Airbus

Qatar Airways restarts operations in London Gatwick, Virgin Atlantic announces hand baggage only fares, and more.

Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways to return to London Gatwick with double-daily flights

Qatar Airways has announced that it will restart flights from London Gatwick in May with double-daily flights to and from Doha. This was revealed alongside new route launches to Lisbon, Tallinn, Malaga, Mykonos, and Thessaloniki. In 2011, the carrier withdrew from the London hub, citing commercial reasons. This new service will be operated by a Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft, which boasts 22 seats in business class, offering passengers direct aisle access with its 1-2-1 configuration, and 232 seats in economy class.

More information here.

Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic to launch hand-baggage only fares

To fend off low-cost competitors, U.K. airline Virgin Atlantic has introduced hand-baggage only (HBO) fares. Passengers can now choose from three different economy classes including economy light, an HBO product already offered by Delta Air Lines, which owns 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic; economy classic, with free seat assignment and priority check-in and boarding; and economy delight, which offers 7.6 centimeters more legroom than normal. Pricing for the new products will be announced at a later date.

More information here.

Photo: Airbus

Airbus’s first A350-900ULR aircraft rolls off assembly line

The first of Airbus’s A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft has rolled off the final assembly line, ahead of its delivery to Singapore Airlines later this year. The new aircraft is an upgraded variant of its existing A350-900 aircraft and can fly longer distances than both its predecessor and other commercial aircraft. The manufacturer claims the aircraft is capable of flying distances of up to 17,964 kilometers, with durations exceeding 20 hours. Singapore Airlines looks set to use the aircraft for its ultra-long-haul nonstop flights between Singapore and the United States.

More information here.

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