As the airline world struggles to gain any altitude Qatar Airways is soaring ahead, operating just over half the destinations it operated pre-COVID-19.
Qatar Airways is one of the few international airlines that has remained flying through the pandemic repatriating millions of travellers and has grown its network from a low point of 30 destinations to more than 85 by mid-September.
By the middle of the month, it will operate over 650 weekly flights to more than 85 destinations, providing more flexible travel options to more global destinations than any other airline.
READ Qantas upbeat on new 15-minute COVID-19 test.
In September its adding Houston, Kathmandu, Mogadishu, Philadelphia and Sialkot to the network and increasing frequencies to nine other destinations including London Heathrow and New York JFK.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said, the gradual rebuilding of the network has been focused on strengthening connections between the Doha hub and key gateways around the world as well as major business and leisure destinations.
“The resumption of flights to Philadelphia will provide seamless connections via our US partners to several key domestic points such as Atlanta, Detroit and Miami.”
“Similarly, the increase in frequencies to Djibouti, Ho Chi Minh City, London and New York will provide further air freight capacity to these important trade and economic centres, Mr Al Baker said.
“The recovery of international travel will take time but returning to over 50 per cent of our pre-COVID-19 network is a significant milestone.”
Mr Al Baker said the key is “restoring passenger confidence” both from a booking and health perspective.
Qatar now offers one of the most flexible and generous booking policies that enable passengers to plan their travel with confidence.
On the COVID-19 health front Qatar Airways is at the forefront of passenger protection with highly detailed instructions on its website.
Mr Al Baker said that the airline “remains in close contact with Australian authorities regarding flight restrictions as ensuring the ongoing repatriation of passengers to the country is becoming increasingly challenging.”
“Despite the restrictions on passengers allowed to be carried into the country, we continue to fulfil our mission to facilitate ongoing repatriation for as many people as possible by operating a robust Australian network to five cities, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne (currently no inbound passengers permitted), Perth and Sydney, offering more flights than any other international airline,” Mr Al Baker said.
Between April and June Qatar carried almost 40 per cent of all international travellers to and from Australia bringing home 180,000 Australian and international travellers.
At the same time, Qatar Airways has carried out 15,000 tonnes of Australian goods since March 1 2020.