Qatar Airways to expand amidst aviation crisis
Qatar Airways has been making news these days for all the right reasons. They are the second biggest airline in the Middle East and are pushing themselves to expand at a time when airlines are cancelling their schedule and grounding their fleet. It has already been operating close to 150 flights a day connecting important cities such as Frankfurt, Munich and Paris with its Hub at Doha.
Expanding its schedule
The national airline of Qatar has said it has flown more than 100,000 passengers all over the world in the last week. It has said it is going to add an additional 10,000 seats to aid to the expansion of its schedule. Qatar airways has stated there is a load factor of 80% for flights to UK, France, Germany and that around 74% of the passengers flying on 24th March were flying to their country of origin.
It also stated that the load factor on the outbound flight was a mere 36%. The airline has said it will try to get as many people as possible home as most of the airlines have stopped flying and grounded their aircraft. “We appreciate this is a difficult time and that many people around the world are trying to find a way to get home. At Qatar Airways we continue to operate more than 150 flights per day so that as many people as possible can get home safely to their loved ones,” said the airline in a statement.
The airline is using fuel efficient aircraft such as the B787 and A350 to operate most of its routes. It had recently said it would cut back on its use of the A380 but with the additional changes in schedule it is set to bring back the A380 into operation again. Currently its serving upto 150 destinations in all the continents.
Qatar Airways has said it will be expanding its operations and adding more flights to Australia. The main reason is that there are people who seek to come home during this pandemic and Qatar serves as a natural waypoint. Another reason as to why Qatar has started expanding its Australian network is that other than Qatar and Qatar Airways, there are very few places and airlines that still have not have imposed travel bans. Airlines such as Emirates or Etihad which connect Australia and Europe are currently grounded. The airlines has also said it would operate flights to Brisbane for the first time.
The following flights would be operated by Qatar to Australia
- A daily service to Brisbane using a B777-300ER
- Twice daily service using an A380 and B777-300ER
- Twice daily service to Melbourne using an A350-1000 and B777-300ER
- Thrice daily service to Sydney using a mix of A350-1000 and B777-300ER
“We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time.We are thankful to the Australian government, airports and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane,” Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker stated.
How is Qatar Airways going to survive the tide
Qatar Airways is backed by the Qatari Government who hold all the stake in it. It will have to hold and rely on its cash reserves to get through the tide. The airline has said it has freezed all hiring of new employees and also has cancelled all its unprofitable routes. It will also postpone all aircraft deliveries for the time being.
Qatar Airways also have their Cargo unit which transports all kinds of cargo from perishable good, courier to medical equipment. It operates using a mixed fleet of B777 and A330.
At a time when airlines are suspending operations and grounding their fleet, Qatar Airways is going against the tide by expanding its operations. Its hard to see whether this would last for a long time as demand is drastically reducing and countries have started to close their borders and impose travel restrictions. Nevertheless Qatar Airways knows what crisis means when they had to re route its aircrafts due to airspace closures.