Visit Montreal this summer and you just might think you are at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar.
This summer, you’re going to see a lot of Qatar Airways aircraft parked at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. In fact, on any morning you might see four at once.
That’s not because Qatar Airways is using government subsidies to support 4x daily service between YUL and DOH. Rather, it is because Qatar Airways still has a surplus of aircraft due to the Gulf blockade and is now in the wet lease business.
Facing an aircraft shortage due to the ongoing 737 MAX crisis, Air Canada has contracted with Qatar Airways to operate Air Canada routes to both Paris and Barcelona. Both routes are operated by an A330-200, which is a nice upgrade for the 767-300 Rouge flight originally scheduled for Barcelona, but arguably a downgrade for the Air Canada A330-300 originally scheduled for Paris.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is also operating flights to Casablanca for Royal Air Maroc. During the summer months, Royal Air Maroc operates two daily flights between Montreal and Casablanca. One of those flights (AT208/209) is operated by a Qatar Airways 777-300ER…without Qsuite business class in case you were wondering. In fact, I’d call the flight a downgrade for passengers considering the Qatar Airways seats are not technically horizontal lie-flat seats.
Wet lease means a Qatar Airways aircraft and crew, but onboard service as if you were on a typical Air Canada or Royal Air Maroc flight.
I’ve never had a bad flight on Qatar Airways, but looks can be deceiving…these are Qatar Airways planes and flight attendants rather than the whole package. But if you are at YUL this summer, now you know why it might seem like you are in DOH.
H/T: Airliners.net // image: Qatar Airways (Doha, not Montreal)