Another will start soon.

Photo: Qatar Aviation Services.

Finnair now serves Doha, nicely timed for the start of the World Cup. But the oneworld carrier wouldn’t serve Qatar but for its strategic partnership with fellow oneworld member Qatar Airways and possibly if Russian airspace wasn’t closed.

The two airlines codeshare, share passenger and freight capacity, and presumably share route costs and revenue. The relationship sees Finnair operate three Doha routes as Qatar Airways reduces its presence, freeing up much sought-after aircraft to use elsewhere.

Finnair begins two Doha routes

At exactly 15:25 on November 1st, Finnair took off from Copenhagen bound for the Qatari capital, according to Flightradar24. It marked its first-ever long-haul route from the Danish city. Six minutes later, the Finnish flag carrier lifted off from Stockholm for Doha.

So began the first of three Doha routes, all of which use refurbished 279-seat A330-300s with the carrier’s new business and premium economy classes.

Operating 1x daily, Copenhagen and Stockholm are scheduled as follows, with all times local:

  • Copenhagen to Doha: AY1985, 15:15-23:30 (6h 15m block time)
  • Doha to Copenhagen: AY1986, 08:15-13:10 (6h 55m)
  • Stockholm Arlanda to Doha: AY1983, 15:10-23:50 (6h 40m)
  • Doha to Stockholm Arlanda: AY1984, 08:10-13:25 (7h 15m)

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Helsinki-Doha is coming

On December 15th, Finnair will begin the 2,732-mile (4,396km) link between its home capital and Doha. Inevitably, it has virtually the same times as Copenhagen and Stockholm, and this means that three Finnair A330-300s will be on the ground in Doha simultaneously:

  • Helsinki to Doha: AY1981, 16:00-23:45 (6h 45m)
  • Doha to Helsinki: AY1982, 08:00-14:15 (7h 15m)
Finnair in Doha1

Photo: Qatar Aviation Services.

Notice the timings

By arriving in Doha just before midnight, the three routes connect to many Qatar Airways flights bound for Asia-Pacific, the broader Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. Needless to say, the greatest number of Qatar Airways’ own Europe flights arrive around middnight.

Similarly, Finnair’s departures to Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Stockholm are timed to coincide with the most arrivals from Asia-Pacific, the broader Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. Again, it is when by far the largest number of Qatar Airways’ Europe (and North America) flights leave.

Qatar Airways schedule of flights at Doha
(Based on November 3rd.)

Image: OAG.

Qatar Airways cuts capacity

As Finnair begins, Qatar Airways inevitably reduces flights and capacity – and, in the case of Helsinki, ends the route altogether. The last Qatar Airways flight to Helsinki is on December 15th, the same day Finnair’s first flight from the Finnish capital takes off.

Curiously, no Qatar Airways flight to Doha is bookable or scheduled on the 15th; the last seems to be on the 13th. On the 15th, is the scheduled 787-8 positioning empty back to Doha or elsewhere?

Qatar Airways will continue to serve Copenhagen and Stockholm with its own metal. However, Copenhagen flights between now and next September are now 4x weekly to 1x daily, down from up to 2x daily. Stockholm, meanwhile, is now 3x to 5x weekly, down from 1x daily to 12x weekly. Of course, they’re somewhat offset by the arrival of Finnair.

What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.


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