In order to free up capacity for the FIFA World Cup, when hundreds of thousands of soccer fans will converge on Doha for the month-long competition, Qatar Airways will be compelled to cancel between 15 and 20 routes in November and December.
Qatar Airways will be able to focus on moving soccer fans from important markets in Europe, South America, and the United States by temporarily cutting flights to a number of locations.
On the penultimate day of the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting, which Qatar Airways is hosting in Doha, Akbar Al Baker, the airline’s chief executive, made the announcement during a news conference.
Al Baker predicts a “great rush” of customers, therefore Qatar Airways plans to halt some, as-of yet unnamed routes and ask airlines in which it has invested equity holdings to help increase capacity.
The FIFA world cup will take place considerably later than usual this year, from November 21 to December 18, after the thought of competing in Qatar’s oppressive summer heat was promptly rejected.
“At this time, we are sacrificing the Qatar Airways network for a period of 30 days,” Al Baker told the conference on Tuesday. “There is such a huge rush during the FIFA World Cup – we have to restructure entire banks of Qatar Airways services to accommodate all the other airlines that want to come”.
Airlines like Cathay Pacific, in whom the Qatari airline has a 10% share, are expected to support Qatar Airways.
Because at least 21 of its Airbus A350 aircraft are still grounded owing to a paint fault, which the airline perceives to be a safety concern, Qatar Airways is having trouble ramping up capacity.
Airbus and European aviation safety authorities disagree, and the airframer is getting ready to refute the charges in a legal dispute that is set to take place next summer.
With up to 160 flights per day between Doha and other regional cities planned as part of a “shuttle service” for soccer fans with confirmed match tickets, Doha Hamad International Airport is expected to become a hub of activity during the World Cup.
The shuttle planes, according to Al Baker, are a method to spread the World Cup’s economic benefits throughout the Persian Gulf. They will also assist Qatar, a tiny nation, cope with the enormous pressure of hosting so many soccer fans.