One of the airlines “last standing” in terms of commercial, publicly-available, long-haul international flights is cutting back a number of services. This week we found out the Doha-based Qatar Airways would be suspending flights to New York (JFK) as well as Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. This comes as a response to decreasing demand amid increasing travel restrictions.
According to FlightGlobal, Qatar Airways will be suspending services to New York as well as the major Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Flights to New York JFK are suspended as of today while service to Madrid Barajas will stop on 4 April. Lastly, service to Barcelona El Prat is suspended beginning 5 April.
“…because of the operational challenges faced due to Covid-19 (coronavirus) we have altered or cancelled some of our services.” -Qatar Airways
One of the most operational airlines remaining
According to data from Cirium, over 1,050 passenger jets were added to the global stored inventory since March 31st. The data service reports that there are now more than 12,600 widebodies, narrowbodies and regional jets in storage. This represents just under 48% of the total global fleet.
While airlines around the world have been essentially strangled by their respective national travel restrictions, Qatar Airways is still able to operate. The airline had to slash capacity by 75% nearly two weeks ago. However, as of 24th March, Qatar Airways was actually increasing its flight operations and making more space available to passengers trying to return home. At the time of the March report, the airline had told Simple Flying that it was adding 10,000 extra seats to the network.
Many destinations remain
Surprisingly, Qatar Airways still has a long list of routes that are still operational. According to the airline’s website, the routes that are still in service numbers 59. Of course, after Madrid and Barcelona service stops, that list will be down to 57.
The list includes cities on every continent except for Antarctica. Interestingly, even the COVID-19 hotspot countries of Italy (via Rome), South Korea (via Seoul), and Iran (via Tehran) are still being served by the airline.
Some other notable cities that Qatar Airways still serves include:
- Chicago, USA
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
- Hong Kong, China
- Sydney, Australia
- Frankfurt, Germany
- London, UK
In Africa, only two destinations remain operational for the airline. These are Seychelles and the Tanzanian island territory of Zanzibar.
While Qatar Airways may be slowly suspending service as more and more citizens are repatriated, we have seen many more special repatriation flights take place. Which have been a necessity in the absence of available commercial services.
Travelers who may be affected by this latest change should be notified by the airline. Regardless, all travelers should check the “My Booking” section of the Qatar Airways website to confirm details of their flight. Furthermore, stranded travelers should register with the nearest embassy of their country of citizenship.
We’ve written an article about what to do if you find yourself stranded abroad.
Are you affected by this latest flight suspension? Let us know in the comments.
We reached out to Qatar Airways for comment. At the time of publishing, no response has been received.