IberiaA319 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 560 posts, RR: 40 Posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 28659 times:
Qatar Airways has been successful with the Doha-Madrid route, which will become daily with the beginning of the winter season. Currently, QR has 4 flights weekly (2 red-eye flights and 2 during the day) and it is still the only airline from the Gulf Region that flies to Madrid, allowing easy connections to other destinations in the region or to Asia.
Qatar Airways started this route almost four years ago, in December 2005, with three weekly flights, using an Airbus A300-600. In summer 2007, QR started using the Airbus A330-200 on this route and currently they use a mix of A332 and A333, the latter one with a capacity of 30 business class and 275 economy class seats.
This year I have been working for almost two and a half months in Saudi Arabia (January to April), and almost three months in the United Arab Emirates (June to August), and QR always offered the best connection with the shortest flights from Madrid.
This report is of one of my return flights to Madrid, before Ramadan, on August 17th from Abu Dhabi. At the end of this report you have some pictures of Terminal 3 in Abu Dhabi and their business lounge on my way to Dammam with Etihad, and some pictures from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar Airways uses terminal 1 in Abu Dhabi, the old terminal, with a specific entrance for the premium passengers. The check-in counters for Qatar Airways are just two, which are behind two other check-in counters for other airlines.
11:40 to Doha
A7-ADU, an Airbus 320, in terminal 1. The flight would take less than one hour:
View of the terminal 1 after push-back:
Desert next to AUH
Isle in the Persian Gulf
Approaching Doha’s airport:
There are no jetways in Qatar, so all the planes are parked in remote stands:
Stairs to the Business and First Class lounge which are in a separate building. This premium terminal has also boarding gates.
Business lounge, where a buffet was available. I would stay here for less than one hour, so the connection is really convenient.
Here I am boarding the A330-300, with registration A7-AEF, after a short bus ride from the premium terminal. The flight would take less than 8 hours, arriving before 8 pm.
Only 5 passengers in business class, which has 30 seats, but economy class was almost full. Therefore, the flight crew in business class was not too busy today. I was chatting with the purser and he was excited about visiting Madrid. The cabin:
Another A330-300, which was parked next to ours A7-AEN
Location of the new Doha’s terminal, which is under construction
Pearl Qatar, a new development being built in Doha:
PTV screen, with the Oryx entertainment:
Flying over Saudi Arabia:
And some endless desert:
Palate pleaser: Cherry tomato and bocconcini skewer
We flew over Cairo, and then towards the Mediterranean Sea and Tunesia, and then Valencia:
Meal before arrival:
City of Sagunto, next to Valencia:
We were flying towards the north, as landings in Madrid Barajas were this time from the north due to the winds. In this case, landings are in runways 18L and 18R. We would use runway 18L.
In this picture, one of the very few nuclear power stations in Spain: Trillo, in the province of Guadalajara.
After our landing (on runway 18L) we taxied along the terminal T4S, mainly used for Iberia/One World long-haul and non-Schengen flights:
Tower in Madrid
Planes in Madrid, Ryanair next to Swiss and Lufthansa, all these aircrafts docked at jetways.
The plane parked next to a Tunisair A300-600:
Some of my pictures in the UAE:
Aquarium in Dubai Mall:
This is me, snowboarding in Dubai (Skidubai in the Mall of the Emirates).
Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi:
Heritage village in Abu Dhabi:
So my report is not yet finished!! I am adding a few pictures from my Etihad’s flight at the end of June from Abu Dhabi to Dammam, in Saudi Arabia and some pictures from Dammam.
In Abu Dhabi, the flight was from terminal 3, so I could use the other business lounge, a completely new one, and I could compare both lounges!! I got an upgrade from business class to first, the plane was an A330-200, A6-EYE.
Abu Dhabi Terminal 3, with the Premium entrance:
First class seat:
On my way to the office in Saudi Arabia, on the right lane of the highway you can see a Ford Crown Victoria: In the Middle East there are lots of large American sedans and SUV!!
Traffic sign, in English and Arabic:
Images from the Corniche in Al-Khobar, next to Dammam, in Saudi Arabia:
IberiaA319 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 560 posts, RR: 40 Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 28486 times:
Quoting Gardermoen (Reply 1): I have always wondered what sort of market Qatar Airways has on these Madrid fligths? Is it mainly Spanish pax ?
Hi, actually yes, many of the passengers were from Spain (at least on the flights I took), but also from Asia. This airline is the preferred airline for travellers going for business reasons to the Middle East, as it is the quickest way to get there. Here in Madrid we (still) do not have Emirates, nor Etihad, nor Gulf Airways.... A long time ago we had some Kuwait Airways flights, via Rome, but not anymore.
This airline allows good connections to/from Asia and to the Gulf region, and currently with special offers in economy class:
Flyboy_se From Switzerland, joined Feb 2000, 745 posts, RR: 6 Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 28342 times:
Muchas gracias for a nice report.
Nice to see Qatar Airways doing good.
Hopefully that new airport will be ready soon, so QR can truly be a 5 star airline.
Thanks for sharing, also nice to see the photos form AUH/DXB and Saudia
IberiaA319 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 560 posts, RR: 40 Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 27307 times:
Hi, thanks for your comments,
Quoting Vietsky (Reply 5): My question is why there are no jetways in Qatar?
Doha International Airport used to be a small airport in the region, that's the reason. According to wikipedia: "In the past, the airport was mostly used by Qatari Holiday makers and foreign workers coming for the oil and gas sector. Now the airport is attracting more people such as holiday makers and transit travelers, it is also growing as Qatar Airways is expanding more rapidly."
Also the total passengers in 1998 were just 2,100,000. In 2007, this airport handled almost 15,000,000 passengers, but the current capacity stays at 12,000,000 passengers/year, even with the last expansions. Also, the increase in cargo was really significant.
The new Doha International Airport will be able to handle at its opening 24,000,000 passengers, but once finished it will be able to handle 50,000,000 passengers, a huge increase in capacity.
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8264 posts, RR: 56 Reply 15, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 21597 times:
Great report & of much interest as I plan to fly QR in J to asia next year.
Quoting IberiaA319 (Thread starter): QR has 4 flights weekly (2 red-eye flights and 2 during the day) and it is still the only airline from the Gulf Region that flies to Madrid, allowing easy connections to other destinations in the region or to Asia.
- I'd have thought EK would have entered the MAD market by now, is the Spanish government blocking their entry?
IberiaA319 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 560 posts, RR: 40 Reply 16, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 21540 times:
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15): I'd have thought EK would have entered the MAD market by now, is the Spanish government blocking their entry?
EK never entered the Spanish market, only Emirates SkyCargo opened a route to Barcelona. I guess EK thinks that the Spanish market is not large enough, but I still remember how EK was already advertising the airline in the Madrid Tourism Fair in 2002.
Actually I did not check the ramp view, but it should be very limited, as the windows do not have a straight view to the ramp or to the runway. But anyway you will enjoy all the facilities from the Premium terminal, even a Spa or a jacuzzi.