Qatar Airways says that the vast majority of its flights are operating as scheduled, despite a recent decision by four neighbouring countries to blockade Qatar.
In a statement the carrier said that its global operations were “running smoothly”, adding that the airline was “continuing its ambitious expansion plans”.
These include a low-key launch of flights to Dublin earlier this week, with services to Nice and Skopje set to follow in July, and other new routes planned for 2017 and 2018 including Las Vegas, Canberra and Rio de Janeiro.
Qatar Airways said that in the past week it had flown approximately 1,200 flights from Doha to over 150 destinations worldwide, with 90 per cent of flights departing within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time.
Commenting on the situation CEO Akbar Al Baker said that “As far as we are concerned, it is business as usual”, before calling on the International Civil Aviation Organisation to declare the blockade “an illegal act”.
“This blockade is unprecedented, and it is in direct contradiction to the convention that guarantees rights to civil overflight,” said Al Baker, adding “We are not a political body, we are an airline, and this blockade has stripped us of the rights which are guaranteed to us”.
The carrier said it had increased the operations of its global call centre and social media “to ensure concerned customers receive the best possible care”, and had extended its commercial policy to “ensure greater flexibility for refunds and rebooking for any passengers whose flight is impacted by the recent travel bans”.
Earlier this week Qatar Airways reported a 22 per cent increase in annual net profits, although the figures covered a period prior to the blockade being introduced.
Next week the carrier is set to showcase its new Q Suite business class seat at the Paris Air Show, before debuting the product on the Doha-London Heathrow route “later this month”.