Even when virtually every country on earth had a travel restriction of some sort in place, Qatar Airways kept flying. Be it cargo, or repatriation of passengers, the airline maintained 30 routes at a minimum despite it all.
As the world begins peeking into a post covid-19 reality, or at least one where a responsible return to travel may be feasible, the airline is ramping up plans with the announcement of 80 destinations up and running again by June! It’s ambitious, but it’s a glimmer of hope many travelers are looking for.
Qatar Airways claims that it’s in a unique position. As one of the few airlines that kept flying despite the enumerable restrictions, it feels it has the greatest insights not only into passenger demand, but also the timing around easing restrictions.
The airlines predicts an initial uptick in domestic travel first, but that business travel between major cities will bounce back sooner than expected. The airline is also banking on a tremendous number of people wishing to reconnect with friends, family, loved ones or missed destinations once restrictions ease, and it’s responsible to do so once again.
As such, it’s going gangbusters in reopening flying routes, and says many of the flights will offer multiple frequencies per week, if not daily flights to each. The airline has laid out a map of its return, by region…
Addis Ababa (ADD), Cape Town (CPT), Johannesburg (JNB), Lagos (LOS), Nairobi (NBO), Tunis (TUN)
Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Sao Paulo (GRU), Montreal (YUL)
Guangzhou (CAN), Hong Kong (HKG), Seoul (ICN), Tokyo (NRT), Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (PVG), Bangkok (BKK), Jakarta (CGK), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Manila (MNL), Singapore (SIN), Ahmedabad (AMD), Amritsar (ATQ), Bangalore (BLR), Mumbai (BOM), Calicut (CCJ), Kolkata (CCU), Colombo (CMB), Kochi (COK), Dhaka (DAC), New Delhi (DEL), Goa (GOI), Hyderabad (HYD), Kathmandu (KTM), Chennai (MAA), Male (MLE), Trivandrum (TRV), Islamabad (ISB), Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE), Melbourne (MEL), Perth (PER), Sydney (SYD)
Athens (ATH), Budapest (BUD), Moscow (DME), Istanbul (IST), Amsterdam (AMS), Stockholm (ARN), Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), Paris (CDG), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), Rome (FCO), Frankfurt (FRA), London (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Manchester (MAN), Munich (MUC), Milan (MXP), Oslo (OSL), Berlin (TXL), Vienna (VIE), Zurich (ZRH)
Amman (AMM), Beirut (BEY), Baghdad (BGW), Basra (BSR), Erbil (EBL), Teheran (IKA), Sulaymaniyah (ISU), Kuwait (KWI), Muscat (MCT), Mashad (MHD), Najaf (NJF), Sohar (OHS), Salalah (SLL), Shiraz (SYZ)
Cabin fever has many around the world desperate to leave their front door, let alone get on a plane when necessary safety restrictions ease, and Qatar Airways is poised to seize upon what’s regarded as an artificial, but highly lucrative bubble in travel when it does.
People want to go somewhere, and Qatar’s 80 destinations seem to indicate a focus on routes where larger business travel, such as London, or Hong Kong should rebound quickly, but strong demand for leisure always exists.
With the Qsuite, the first business class setup to feature a privacy door at every seat, Qatar Airways may also have a competitive advantage as business travel emerges. Companies will be looking to minimize risk for necessary travel, and being able to socially distance yourself with a large privacy door will move the needle for many.
Plus, the airline is flying, which ironically separates Qatar Airways from many others at the moment. Contrast Qatar’s position of expansion with larger airlines currently operating at 10% capacity, with roughly 10% of seats full, and many are down to flying 1% of what they’re used to.
If only we could just solve aircraft boarding, this whole travel rebound thing would be even easier.