Qatar Airways boosts Istanbul flights: faster transits to Melbourne, Perth

By Chris Chamberlin, August 19 2014

Qatar Airways is set to boost its Istanbul flights, which sees passengers heading to Melbourne and Perth spending less time in transit on the return journey.

From October 26 2014, QR243 and QR244 run daily between Qatar’s Doha hub and Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport – served by an Airbus A320 aircraft.

With a 2:10pm departure from Doha and a 5:25pm touchdown in Istanbul, QR243 isn’t a great fit with those connecting from Qatar’s Australian flights, which normally reach Doha early in the morning.

On the return, it’s a different story – QR244 is wheels-up at 6:35pm, reaching Doha at 11:30pm on the same calendar day.

That’s just enough time for Melbourne-bound flyers to freshen up in Qatar’s new Al Mourjan Business Lounge before jumping on QR904 at 12:55am.

Perth flyers have slightly longer to enjoy the opulent lounge, with QR900 pushing back at 2am for an evening arrival.

These mining capital travellers are also in for a treat – Qatar is upgrading its daily Perth-Doha flights to the larger Boeing 777-300 from October 1, just a few weeks ahead of the Istanbul ramp-up.

And, it comes ahead of a further planned boost to Madrid flights in November and upgrading Perth-Doha to the Airbus A350 from early 2015, making it one of Qatar's first routes for the new Airbus bird.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn points and status credits on Qatar Airways flights through the airlines’ mutual partnership in the global Oneworld airline alliance.

But, as we've found, you could actually wind up earning fewer points on Qatar Airways between Australia and London than you would between Perth and Melbourne on Qantas – and the prospect of status credits isn't much better for members of Qantas Frequent Flyer...

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

QFF

06 Nov 2012

Total posts 47

Flight Radar 24 is showing QR900 just arriving into PER as a B77W - they've been flying here for some time, though they still also fly the 772 on occasion.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

29 Aug 2012

Total posts 23

It's worth pointing out that Sabiha Gokcen Airport very much plays second string to the far larger, busier and more central Ataturk Airport, primarily being the Istanbul base for low-cost airlines. Whilst Ataturk, where QR and most airlines currently fly, is about 20 minutes from the pictured Hagia Sophia and on the European side of the Bosphorus (where most points of concern to the international traveller lie), Sabiha Gokcen is well over an hour away from these areas and on the Asian side. Its public transport options are also significantly more limited than that which is offered from Ataturk.


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