I think the phrase ‘Go big or go home’ has always applied to Qatar Airway’s strategy with their airline, and this is certainly in evidence with their announcement today. Qatar Airways has announced today that the airline will begin a phased approach to rebuilding its network in line with passenger demand and the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world. Qatar are one of the few airlines who have not only maintained a reasonable schedule but also not changed the onboard service hugely. They have prided themselves on bringing people home as you can see in the video below. One of our readers was rescued by Qatar and flown home by them from New Zealand which you can read about here.
So far Qatar have maintained scheduled flights to at least 30 destinations and to all continents and helped 1 million people get home. As they have kept their network operating unlike many airlines that have shut down, the airline has been in a unique position to closely monitor global passenger flows and booking trends. Qatar now say that this has allowed them to confidently begin planning the gradual reintroduction of additional destinations and flights to its network.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Throughout this crisis our passengers have been at the centre of our focus. Our airline has implemented industry leading hygiene practices and commercial policies enabling our customers to book and travel with confidence. We have maintained a flexible and agile network to help take over 1 million people home through our state of the art hub in Doha, and to transport more than 100,000 tonnes of essential medical and aid supplies to where they are needed.
“As we follow the indicators of the global travel market on a daily basis, we continue to focus on our mission, how we can enable mobility for our customers and providing them with seamless connectivity to their final destination. We have built a strong level of trust with passengers, governments, trade and airports as a reliable partner during this crisis and we intend to continue delivering on this mission as we gradually rebuild our network.”
While the situation is hugely dynamic, Qatar Airways has had to make a number of assumptions but at this point there is still no certainty about when countries will relax entry restrictions. To be honest I am not sure most countries themselves know that! Qatar believe that while the expectation is short-haul travel will rebound first, business between large global cities will pick up gradually and there will be a move towards visiting family and friends following months of lockdowns.
By the end of June, the aim is to have 80 destinations in their schedule including 23 in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in Middle East/Africa and 14 in Asia. Many cities will be served with daily or more frequencies.
The gradual expansion will focus initially on strengthening connections between the airline’s hub in Doha with the global hubs of its partner airlines around the world including London, Chicago, Dallas and Hong Kong along with reopening many major business and leisure destinations such as Madrid, Mumbai, New York and Shanghai.
Currently, the airline continues to operate flights to more than 30 destinations around the world. By the end of May, the airline plans to grow its network back to over 50 destinations* resuming services to destinations such as Barcelona, Amman, and Nairobi. A further 30 destinations* are planned to be added by the end of June including Los Angeles, Bali and Seychelles .
For the latest information on where Qatar Airways are flying, please visit their special page COVID-19 travel alert.