Qatar Airways says it will increase operations to a total of 80 destinations by the end of June, “in line with the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world”.
The Gulf carrier is currently flying to just over 30 destinations, and in what it calls a “phased rebuilding” of its network, the airline said it intends to increase this to 52 destinations by the end of this month, before adding a further 30-odd routes by the end of June.
Suspended routes will be gradually resinstated, and additional frequencies will also be added to key destinations and partner hubs.
The initial focus will be on strengthening connections between Doha and the global hubs of partner airlines in London, Chicago, Dallas and Hong Kong, as well as reopening flights to “many major business and leisure destinations such as Madrid and Mumbai”.
It is however understood that some UK routes will not resume until the winter season, including Gatwick, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Exact schedules have yet to be confirmed, but Qatar Airways said that it aims to be operating to 23 destinations in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in the Middle East and Africa, and 33 in Asia-Pacific by the end of June. A list of intended routes can be seen at the bottom of this article.
The carrier said “Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies”, adding that it would use its diverse fleet to ensure that the right aircraft are rostered nto flights to “ensure the best fit for expected demand on each planned route”.
Qatar said that “having been one of the only carriers to operate globally in recent months”, it 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”.
The carrier expects short-haul travel to rebound first, with business between large global cities picking up more gradually, and said there will be “a move towards visiting family and friends following months of lockdowns”.
Commenting on the news Qatar Airways Group CEO 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.”
Meanwhile the BBC reported today that Al Baker has written to staff warning of “substantial” redundancies, with the carrier needing to “act decisively to protect the future of the business”.
Al Baker is reported to have written in the memo that “The truth is, we simply cannot sustain the current staff numbers and will need to make a substantial number of jobs redundant – inclusive of cabin crew”.
Qatar Airways destinations operating by end of June (subject to regulatory approval)
- 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)