Qatar Airways is operating more seats across the world than any other airline based on available seat kilometers (ASKs). According to data from specialists OAG, the airline will have operated over 2.6 billion ASKs in March 2021, cementing its position connecting the globe throughout the pandemic.
Global air travel recovery is in differing stages around the world. While Australia has seen a substantial domestic recovery in recent weeks, things aren’t so bright in Europe, where traffic remains depressed with the arrival of a third COVID-19 wave. Qatar is currently over 70% of its pre-COVID flight schedule, according to data from RadarBox.com.
Over 1,000 weekly flights
According to Qatar Airways, the airline is now operating over 1,000 flights a week to more than 130 destinations. Across these flights, 2.6 billion ASKs have been operated. Essentially this is a measure of how many seats have been flown by an airline, multiplied by how many kilometers have been flown. For example, an ASK of 5,000 could mean ten flights with five seats had been operated over 10 kilometers.
Commenting on the results published by OAG, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said,
“We have dedicated ourselves to being the airline passengers can rely on, operating with the highest hygiene and bio-safety standards… This independent data from OAG once again highlights Qatar Airways’ mission to be an airline that passengers and trade partners can rely on now and in the future as we offer unrivalled connectivity with a state-of-the-art and sustainable fleet.”
A strong recovery
Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways has been making a solid recovery. According to data from RadarBox.com, the airline’s flight operations fell by 70% during the worst week of the crisis. This was the week of April 16th to 22nd.
However, traffic has now surpassed last year’s figures with a 66% growth year on year for the past week. This equates to a 29% decrease from the same week in 2019. For comparison with a European airline, fellow oneworld alliance member British Airways is still operating at an 84% decrease compared to the same week in 2019.
While many airlines grounded their fleets at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Qatar Airways kept a core global network open, allowing many who found themselves stranded across the globe to find a way home.
In early May, the airline was serving around 30 destinations, 100 fewer than now. However, the past year hasn’t just been about recovery for the Middle Eastern airline. Qatar has also been launching some new routes and working on expanding its codeshare agreements. In January, the airline launched a new connection to Seattle ahead of Alaska Airlines joining the oneworld alliance next week.
Have you flown on Qatar Airways since the start of the pandemic? How did you find it? Let us know what you thought and why in the comments!