As people all over the world try to get home, Qatar Airways is increasing its service to many destinations. Doha airport remains open for transit, and the airline plans to operate additional flights, with several destinations set to get an increased A380 service.
Additional flights from Qatar Airways
As of 24th March 2020, Qatar Airways is increasing its flight operations and making more space available to passengers trying to return home. In a statement sent to Simple Flying, the airline stated they are adding 10,000 extra seats to the network from 24th March.
This comes as part of a commitment to help get people home, as many travelers find themselves stuck overseas, with airlines canceling routes and airports and country borders closing. Indeed, Qatar Airways claims that it has flown over 100,000 passengers home over the last seven days. And 72 percent of passengers flown on 24th March were nationals returning to their home country.
Returning the A380 to service
Several routes – including London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Perth at least – will be operated by the Airbus A380. Service will likely be lighter than before, but also could change quickly. London Heathrow, for example, is expected to see three or four flights a day in April (down from six in the past).
This comes just days after Qatar Airways announced it would ground its entire A380 fleet. This was explained at the time as a choice due to the higher operating costs of the A380. With decreased loads, it made sense to operate the A350 on these routes instead.
Qatar Airways has not been alone in grounding its fleet. The A380 has quickly become a scare sight as many airlines have grounded their entire fleets (including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Asiana, Korean Air, and Malaysia Airlines) and others have cut service drastically.
But, with the increased load expected as part of the airline’s new commitment, the larger aircraft once again makes sense on some routes. Qatar Airways quotes load factors for the past seven days at over 80 percent to the UK, France, and Germany. As well as helping travelers and residents get home, the airline is also working with embassies around the world. The airline flew 5,000 passengers home last week through these services, and expects this to triple over the coming week.
Qatar open for transit
Of course, one of the main reasons this is possible is that Doha airport remains open for passengers who want to connect. Many other major hub airports have now closed to transit passengers.
Emirates and Etihad Airways have recently announced they will ground all flights as the UAE has banned all passenger services. And other major hub airports Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have this week all announced bans on transit passengers.
These sudden restrictions from other hubs have caused cancellations from airlines and left many passengers stranded. With Doha airport staying open, it is great news that Qatar Airways is increasing its service to get more people home. And it is impressive how it is changing its operations so quickly alongside the evolving situation.
The airline is currently still flying to 75 destinations across the world. But with the situation shifting so fast all over the world, this will no doubt be a changing list.