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The following photo on the Boeing 747 Wikipedia article reads:

enter image description here

Qatar Airways 747SR-81 landing at London Gatwick Airport in 1996.

How did the 747SR manage this flight [on a regular basis]? The only range information I can find for the SR (short range) is from ANA's fleet history, which puts it at 2,590 km. The -SR also had "a 20 percent reduction in fuel capacity."

enter image description here
(gcmap.com) Range of the 747SR plotted from Doha and Cairo.

Out of the ~520 seats, how many seats were empty to make the trip, or were there stops on the way? I thought maybe a Doha-Cairo-London route, but that falls short as well.

This airplane was also seen as far as Bangkok. These probably are not rare trips, i.e., the destinations are likely to have been regularly served.

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enter image description here
(Boeing)

Non-stop (2,820 NM) is doable (minus a ~25-tonne limitation). The plane can make it with 396 passengers (compared to the 624 shown above).

ANA's figure of 1400 NM assumes a full payload of 624 passengers.

enter image description here
(gcmap.com) Doha-Bangkok is almost the same distance at 2,857 NM.

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    $\begingroup$ Answering your own question is completley acceptable (nay, encouraged) so there's no need to make it community wiki. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 24 '17 at 10:47
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If it doesn't have the range on internal fuel, two possibilities remain:

Ferry tanks - auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the cargo compartments to give the aircraft the additional fuel to fly the route nonstop.

Or, most likely, additional stops along the route of flight for fuel. It could easily make Istanbul, thence multiple options for fuel in Europe prior to flying to London.

Now a 747SR has 20% less useable fuel over the 747-100, which, from a simple back of the envelope calculation, would offer a 20% reduction in range over -100. This gives an estimated maximum range of 3,696 miles. A straight line distance from Doha, Qatar to London, UK is 3,242 miles. Assuming favorable winds, it is reasonable to believe the airplane could make the flight nonstop with IFR reserves.

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    $\begingroup$ Rome looks more probable than Istanbul, given that it would not require any extra stops afterwards. $\endgroup$ – Federico Apr 24 '17 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico The map in the question suggests that Doha-Roma wasn't possible without refuelling. (Rome is within the circle centred on Cairo but not the one for Doha.) $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 24 '17 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby hence why I said "afterwards". My understanding of Carlo's answer is that he was suggesting Istanbul after Cairo. If not he can correct me. $\endgroup$ – Federico Apr 24 '17 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico Ah, OK. I assumed that Istanbul was being proposed as an alternative to Cairo. I agree that Doha-Cairo-Rome-London would be better than Doha-Cairo-Istanbul-Yetanotherstop-London. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 24 '17 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby - true, Istanbul alone wouldn't work (if fully loaded that is). $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Apr 24 '17 at 11:31

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