Qatar Airways Will Need State Aid With Flights 50% Empty

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Qatar Airways is leaving the door open to receive government support in the future. Speaking to Reuters, CEO Akbar Al Baker stated that the airline will need government support, eventually, in order to keep flying. Moreover, he stated that a number of flights are operating 50% empty.

Qatar Airways will eventually need government support according to CEO Akbar Al Baker. Photo: Getty

Some Qatar Airways flights operating 50% empty

Some flights are operating at 50% occupancy or less. This comes as Qatar Airways continues to operate a robust schedule. While other airlines have cut down on flight schedules, Qatar Airways has added new flights and upgauged aircraft on some routes.

Qatar Airways A380
On key routes, Qatar Airways is upgauging flights to the Airbus A380. Photo: Getty

However, Qatar Airways is still operating these flights due to, according to Al Baker, requests from governments and embassies; a similar statement to what Emirates indicated as justification for operating some flights before, of course, grounding flights entirely. In addition, these flights are designed to return people to their homes where governmental directives will allow.

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The airline will fly as long as governmental directives will allow. Photo: Getty

However, with such a robust schedule and planes flying 50% empty, the airline is running out of cash. As a result, CEO Al Baker is leaving the door open to go to the government, eventually, to get support either as equity or loans. In the meantime, some staff have taken paid and unpaid voluntary leave and Al Baker has cut his salary. However, the airline’s employees will not take pay cuts.

Other problems at the airline

Qatar Airways is in a bit of a difficult situation. Already, the airline was planning on less-than-stellar financials due to the ongoing blockade. As a result, some flights having to veer around closed-off airspace consuming extra time and fuel.

Akbar al Baker
Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker. Photo: Getty

However, aside from this, there have been some developments at the airline. Qatar Airways is retrofitting its widebody aircraft to feature more of its innovative Qsuites, investing in other airlines around the world, revamping its economy class catering, and planning on taking on more aircraft.

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Airlines seek government assistance

Qatar Airways is just the next airline in an ongoing list of carriers seeking cash to survive. Recently, the United States government outlined a $58 billion aid package to airlines. Although, there is at least one American carrier that will have ruffled feathers over Qatar Airways seeking government assistance after getting its own bailout.

Qatar Airways Getty
Airlines around the world are in need of financial assistance. Photo: Getty Images

Overall

Qatar Airways is unique in maintaining a robust flight schedule while other carriers continue to draw down services. However, now, CEO Al Baker is leaving the door open to requesting state aid as cash reserves start to run low. With flights at 50% full, however, this is not a terribly surprising development.

What do you think about CEO Akbar Al Baker’s comments on Qatar Airways seeking aid in the future? Let us know in the comments!

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