This week, Simple Flying spoke with Qatar Airways Senior Vice President – Western Region, Eric Odone, about his company’s network across the Americas. Despite Brazil being heavily impacted by the global health crisis, the airline has been performing well with its services to the South American country.
Still going strong
Odone shared that the Doha-based carrier is seeing great results with its flights to Brazil. On May 1st, the firm started deploying its A350-1000 aircraft to the nation. This jet can fit 46 customers in business class and 281 passengers in economy.
Brazil has been reporting the second-highest amount of coronavirus cases in the world. Once cases started to further spike in March, authorities began placing travel restrictions. During this period, Qatar Airways continued flying to the country but reduced its daily service to five weekly flights.
Nonetheless, Brazil reopened up to international air travel and foreign tourists at the end of July. As a result, Qatar Airways resumed its daily Doha-São Paulo service from August 1st.
São Paulo offers several convenient connections across Latin America. Moreover, many South American nations still have restrictive air travel at the moment. So, passengers looking to urgently visit family, address personal duties, or get back home, can connect via the Brazil hub.
Several countries aren’t even allowing transit across their airports in the current climate. Therefore, the connectivity that Hamad International and Guarulhos International provide is proving to be even more useful amid the present conditions. The two hubs are combining well with Qatar Airways’ extensive network.
Odone also highlights that his airline’s strong partnership with LATAM is proving to be key in helping people get where they need to be in the current situation. The South American carrier has been linking with the Middle Eastern outfit’s operations to serve on certain legs on the passenger journey.
Whether entering Brazil or connecting to another destination, there would naturally be several passengers concerned about their health amid the pandemic. Therefore. Qatar Airways is proactively promoting its safety measures to protect crew members and customers on board.
The operator is providing passengers with protection kits. Items in these packs include face shields, hand sanitizers, face masks, and disposable gloves. Currently, it’s mandatory for economy ticket holders to wear the shields unless they are eating or drinking. Those in business class can wear the shields at their own discretion as they have more space and privacy. Nonetheless, all fliers must wear them during boarding and embarkation.
Additionally, cabin crew members have ramped-up PPE kits. These employees have disposable protective gowns, safety glasses, gloves, and a mask.
Also, negative Covid-19 RT-PCR tests are required for passengers from several countries. Those that don’t have a negative test performed in the 72 hours before departure and who do no consent to the carrier accessing results will be denied boarding. For an up to date list on countries that are subject to this testing, visit Qatar Airways’ website.
Hope for the future
Altogether, Qatar Airways has managed to adapt amid the tough challenges that the aviation industry is facing. Travel in South America has been restricted for approximately six months now.
Hopefully, Qatar Airways’ examples of safety measures can give officials and airlines in the region the confidence to continue the resumption of services while protecting the public. Regardless, Qatar’s flag carrier will be glad that it is still going strong in Brazil as it celebrates 10 years of service to South America.
What are your thoughts about Qatar Airways’ flights to Brazil? Have you flown with the airline to South America recently? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.