According tomedia reports, most international airlines have lost thousands of flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Qatar Airways has opted for a different option. In fact, after some cuts were announced in the past few days, the airline has actually added some flights, adding 10,000 extra seats.
Qatar Airways is flying to Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Perth with an additional A380 fleet by adding extra flights from Doha to Paris, Perth and Dublin. In addition, it has increased charter services from the United States and Asia to Europe. Unlike other airlines, Qatar can still fly to 75 destinations, including the United States, although the airline acknowledges that this could change quickly as some countries impose stricter restrictions.
In many ways, Qatar’s decision seems unusual, especially given that even local rivals such as the United Arab Emirates have cut most flights, and many U.S. airlines now serve only a handful of international destinations. But Qatar Airways says its current mission is to “reunite stranded passengers with their loved ones.” The company’s figures support this, with about 80 per cent of seats sold on flights to the UK, France and Germany, but only 36 per cent of outbound flights. The airline says it has carried about 100,000 passengers in the past seven days.
Obviously, the demand here comes from passengers trying to get home. That may not last, and Qatar Airways will eventually close more routes. But it is one of the few airlines that still offers flights on many of these routes, and is able to do so because its hub in Doha is still open to transit passengers. Emirates and Etihad Airways, for example, may also keep some of their flights running, but their hub airports are now closed and other major hubs, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, china, are off-the-bound.