Qatar Airways Giving Free Tickets To Healthcare Workers As It Reduces Fleet Size
In an interview with Reuters, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker forecasted a long road ahead for full recovery. The airline also announced on Monday it will give away 100,000 flights to frontline healthcare workers as a way of giving thanks. The complimentary tickets will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Throughout the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar Airways maintained some regular, scheduled service to 30 destinations. The airline announced earlier this month that it planned to reopen more routes, flying to 80 destinations by the end of June. The airline used to fly to 165 destinations.
- Qatar Airways will reduce its fleet size by 25%. The airline will ground some planes and return other planes to lessors.
- The airline forecasts it will be able to fill 50-60% of seats as it reopens routes closed during the outbreak.
- The CEO said it could take until 2023 or 2023 before a full recovery.
Al-Baker expressed optimism that there will be some demand for travel as they reopen routes. The CEO told Reuters, “I am sure there will be demand. There are still a lot of people stranded around the world (and) people who want to visit their loved ones.”
Al-Baker said that passengers would be encouraged to sit separately when seating allows it. Airlines are putting policies in place in an attempt to make passengers feel comfortable with flying again. Many airlines around the world require face masks to fly. Meanwhile, other airlines are implementing social distance seating policies.
Ticket Giveaway To Healthcare Workers
The company also announced today it was giving 100,000 roundtrip tickets to healthcare professionals around the world. Al-Baker said, “United in dedication, we share our gratitude. Now it is our turn to give something back to those on the healthcare frontline.” Those eligible for the tickets can register here.
In addition, the airline expressed a similar sentiment mentioned by different people throughout the airline industry. Al-Baker noted business demand many business travelers may never return to their airline. Industry experts fear that business travelers have become accustomed to remote working and meetings, potentially leading business to travel less.
Qatar Airways is cutting its fleet by 25%, and the CEO doesn’t see a recovery until 3 or 4 years from now. It’s not entirely out of step with what many others in the industry are saying. It will be interesting to see how Qatar Airways does once they expand their network over the course of the next month and a half. I have a trip booked with them for November 2020, so we’ll see what the future brings!
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)