Qatar Airways announced that the airline will begin a phased approach to expanding its network in line with passenger demand evolution and the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world. Having maintained flights to at least 30 destinations where possible during this crisis and to most continents, helping to take over 1 million people home, the airline has been in a unique position to closely monitor global passenger flows and booking trends to confidently begin planning the gradual reintroduction of additional flights and destinations 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 passengers 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 provide 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 expand our network.”
While the situation remains hugely dynamic, Qatar Airways has made a number of assumptions based on its unique perspective, having been one of the only carriers to operate globally in recent months. With entry restrictions constantly evolving, accurately predicting future travel is challenging. However, while the expectation is that short haul travel will rebound first, business between large global cities will pick up more gradually and there will be a move towards visiting family and friends following months of lockdowns.
Qatar Airways will take full advantage of its diverse and efficient fleet with the right aircraft size to ensure the best fit for expected demand on each planned route. By the end of June, the aim is to have 80 destinations in the schedule including 23 in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in Middle East/Africa and 33 in Asia-Pacific. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule 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 and Mumbai.
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 cities such as Manila, Amman, and Nairobi. A further number of destinations* are planned to be added by the end of June.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.
Qatar Airways maintains the highest possible hygiene standards, which include the regular disinfection of aircraft, the use of cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and thermal screening of crew.
In addition, Qatar Airways’ aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection. All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are removed of ear foams and rigorously sanitized after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.
Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) was the first organisation in the world last year to achieve ISO22000:2018 certification from Bureau Veritas with UKAS accreditation, confirming its Food Safety Management System meets the highest standards. All meal service utensils and cutlery are washed with detergents and rinsed with demineralized fresh water at temperatures that kill pathogenic bacteria. All sanitized equipment is handled by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves, while cutlery is individually re-packed.
Qatar Airways destinations operating by end of June*
Addis Ababa (ADD), Cape Town (CPT), Johannesburg (JNB), Lagos (LOS), Nairobi (NBO), Tunis (TUN)
Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Sao Paulo (GRU), Montreal (YUL)
Guangzhou (CAN), Hong Kong (HKG), Seoul (ICN), Tokyo (NRT), Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (PVG), Bangkok (BKK), Jakarta (CGK), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Manila (MNL), Singapore (SIN), Ahmedabad (AMD), Amritsar (ATQ), Bangalore (BLR), Mumbai (BOM), Calicut (CCJ), Kolkata (CCU), Colombo (CMB), Kochi (COK), Dhaka (DAC), New Delhi (DEL), Goa (GOI), Hyderabad (HYD), Kathmandu (KTM), Chennai (MAA), Male (MLE), Trivandrum (TRV), Islamabad (ISB), Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE), Melbourne (MEL), Perth (PER), Sydney (SYD)
Athens (ATH), Budapest (BUD), Moscow (DME), Istanbul (IST), Amsterdam (AMS), Stockholm (ARN), Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), Paris (CDG), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), Rome (FCO), Frankfurt (FRA), London (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Manchester (MAN), Munich (MUC), Milan (MXP), Oslo (OSL), Berlin (TXL), Vienna (VIE), Zurich (ZRH)
Amman (AMM), Beirut (BEY), Baghdad (BGW), Basra (BSR), Erbil (EBL), Teheran (IKA), Sulaymaniyah (ISU), Kuwait (KWI), Muscat (MCT), Mashad (MHD), Najaf (NJF), Sohar (OHS), Salalah (SLL), Shiraz (SYZ)
*Subject to regulatory approval