A Busy Weekend For Qatar Airways’ A330s

Doha-based Qatar Airways operates a fleet of 14 Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 fleet comprises six A330-200s and eight A330-300s. Qatar Airways and its A330s haven’t had the easiest time lately, but looking at what the A330s have been up to over the Christmas weekend shows decent amounts of flying.

Qatar Airways operates 14 Airbus A330s – a mix of A330-200s and A330-300s. Photo: Airbus

Qatar Airways is sending its A330s on a mixture of cargo and/or passenger flights to a range of destinations as far afield as China. Here’s what the 14 Qatar Airways Airbus A330s got up to over Saturday and Sunday.

How Qatar’s A330-200s spent the weekend

After operating a Christmas Day return service to Kiembi Samaki in Tanzania and a Boxing Day return service to Colombo in Sri Lanka, the A7-ACG Al Wabra is booked in for an early morning departure on Monday from Doha, operating RR8820 through to London Heathrow.

The second Qatar A330-200, A7-ACI Muaither operated a return flight between Doha and King Fahd International Airport at Ad Damman in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. After arriving back at Doha, the plane was reprovisioned before setting off for Beijing. A7-ACI landed in Beijing in the early hours of Sunday and returned home to Doha later that day.

Qatar’s third A330-200, A7-ACK, spent Christmas Day at home in Doha but was set to work on Sunday. In the early hours of Sunday morning, A7-ACK operated a return Doha – Jeddah service. It backed that up later in the day with a return Doha – Riyadh service and a return Doha – Ad Damman service. A7-ACK operated those six flights over a 23 hour period on Sunday.

A Qatar Airways A330-200 taking off. Photo: Airbus

mix of short and medium-haul flying for Qatar’s A330-200s

On Christmas Day, the fourth A330-200, A7-ACM, flew Doha – Tunis – Doha. The westbound flight takes about six hours, and the return flight home is about 30 minutes less. On Boxing Day, A7-ACM had a lazy day, flying Doha – Ad Damman – Doha. It is only about 60 minutes flying time between the two cities.

A7-ACS, Qatar’s fifth A330-200, only operated one flight on Saturday, but it was a decent length. A7-ACS flew QR8494 on Christmas Day between Doha and Chengdu in China. The flight took seven hours and landed in China just before midnight. Early on Sunday, A7-ACS headed back to Doha. After less than two hours on the ground there, the jet operated a return Doha – Beirut service, arriving home late on Sunday afternoon.

The sixth and final Qatar A330-200 is A7-ACT. The Airbus jet had an interesting weekend. On Saturday, A7-ACT operated a rather nifty Doha – London – Olso – Doha triangle service. After getting back just before midnight on Saturday, A7-ACT spent 12 hours on the ground before heading to Kathmandu. Spending 90 minutes in Nepal, A7-ACT took off for Doha early on Sunday evening and got home just before midnight on Sunday.

Qatar Airways operates a total of six Airbus A330-200s. Photo: Airbus

Qatar’s A330-300s get back to business

In July 2020, Qatar grounded its A330-300 fleet due to the travel downturn. By August this year, the airline quietly began bringing the planes back into service. Since then, Qatar’s A330-300s have been getting back to business.

On Christmas Day, the first, A7-AED Al Nu’uman, went to Dhaka, operating QF638 eastbound and QF639 on the return sector. On Sunday, A7-AED headed down to Kiembi Samaki. It left Tanzania shortly before midnight on Sunday and is in the air heading back to Doha at the time of writing. A7-AED should be back on the ground by the time of publication.

Qatar’s second A330-300, A7-AEE Semaisma had a busy weekend. The Airbus operated four flights on Saturday, including an early morning service from Colombo to Doha. During the day, A7-AEE operated a return Doha – Medina – Doha service. Later on Saturday, the plane set off for Colombo once again. On Sunday morning, A7-AEE returned to Doha. Later that morning, A7-AEE departed for Dhaka, Bangladesh. On Sunday evening, the jet headed back to Doha.

The third A330-300, A7-AEG Al Duhei, had a relatively quiet weekend. The aircraft flew Doha – Dhaka – Doha on Christmas Day. Interestingly, the eastbound flight took four and a half hours, while the flight home took six and a half hours (the flight path shows a relatively normal route).

A pilot in the cockpit of a Qatar Airways A330. Photo: Airbus

Sub-six hour flights are the norm for Qatar’s A330s

Qatar’s fourth A330-300, A7-AEI Azizia, had a big weekend flying three return medium-haul routes. On Saturday, the jet operated QR646/647 from Doha to Kathmandu and back. Once back in Doha, the plane didn’t hang around long, heading to Cairo early on Saturday evening. Early on Sunday morning, A7-AEI headed back to Doha. But there’s no rest for a hard-working plane. By mid-morning, A7- AEI was on the way to Dhaka. Later on Sunday, it flew the return service back to Doha.

A7-AEJ Alda’ayen is another one of Qatar’s A330-300s that enjoyed a busy weekend. On Christmas Day, the jet operated a return Doha – Islamabad and a return Doha- Istanbul service. On Boxing Day, A7-AEJ went slightly further afield, flying Doha – Tunis – Doha. The jet got home just before midnight on Sunday.

The seventh Qatar A330-300 is A7-AEN. Compared to some of the other A330-300s, A7-AEN had a relatively straightforward weekend. On Saturday, the Airbus flew Doha – Kathmandu – Doha. On Sunday, the plane operated Doka – Colombo – Doha.

Qatar Airways has retired many of its A330s, including several dedicated freighters. Photo: Qatar Airways

The good news: Qatar’s remaining A330s are keeping busy

The final A330-300 is A7-AEO Shadeedah. On Christmas Day, A7-AEO operated a return service between Doha and Dhaka. On Sunday morning at breakfast time, A7-AEO set off for Islamabad. And as we wrap up where Qatar’s A330 flew this weekend, A7-AEO offers a nice little twist. Instead of heading back to Doha, the plane left Islamabad on Sunday afternoon for the short 30-minute hop up to Lahore. This flight operated as QF628, which is usually a nonstop service.

Except for some China-bound flights, Qatar keeps its A330s flying within a nice tight sub-six-hour flying time radius from Doha, operating to a tidy mix of regional destinations. Arguably the best news is how busy the A330s are.

Airlines like Qatar don’t have domestic networks, relying entirely on international flying. And international flying is a tough gig right now. But at least with their A330s, Qatar is having a decent go at it.