Since the pandemic began, Qatar Airways has been there when no one else was – literally. Whilst other airlines pulled their routes and parked their planes when COVID-19 hit, Qatar Airways stayed the course and continued to bring Australians home and support agents.
The pandemic has shown us all that whilst you can talk the talk, it takes character to walk the walk, especially in trying times.
Indeed, instead of bunkering away, Qatar Airways has continued to take to the skies in the last nine months, showing us all why they’re consistently rated as the best airline in the world.
Here are five ways Qatar Airways was – and still is – there for Aussies and agents.
1. Qatar Airways increased its services when other airlines stopped flying
Qatar Airways was one of only a few airlines in the world that committed to helping get Aussies back home when the pandemic began making serious waves back in March and April this year. And their commitment to supporting repatriation flows around the world continues to this day.
Qatar Airways never stopped flying to Australia. In fact, whilst other airlines cut services and destinations from their network, Qatar Airways not only maintained their global presence but even introduced new services, such as a new A350-1000 service to Brisbane which brought thousands of Queenslanders home.
So far, they’ve repatriated over 100,000 Aussies back home to safety, which accounted for nearly 45 per cent of all travellers to and from Australia in April.
On a global scale, Qatar Airways has repatriated over 2.3 million stranded passengers.
2. They helped keep Australia running
As Australia imposed restrictions on a normal life in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, and several other airlines stopped flying to our shores, Qatar Airways Cargo decided to support Australian exporters by operating large numbers of charter and freight-only flights to transport fresh produce and pharmaceuticals to other parts of the country and around the world.
This included the new twice-weekly Boeing 777 freighters to Melbourne and Perth which was launched in April 2020 to transport fresh food and essential medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. They introduced flexible booking policies
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways was quick off the bat in its introduction of a flexible booking policy which recognised that passengers required more flexibility in the current travel landscape. This commitment to flexibility remains today.
All tickets issued before 31 December 2020 for travel up to 31 December 2021 are covered under a flexible booking policy that givers passengers a range of options should they decide to change their travel plans, or if those plans are impacted by factors outside their control.
For example, passengers can hold their ticket value for two years, benefit from unlimited date changes, or exchange their ticket for a future travel voucher with 10 per cent extra value if they need to change their plans.
If plans are impacted by external events, then passengers can change their destination, swap their ticket for Qmiles or even refund their ticket with no fees applied.
4. They introduced enhanced hygiene procedures quickly
Qatar Airways was quick to respond to the “new normal” of air travel by introducing a set of enhanced hygiene procedures on all its services, and they remain one of the most trusted airlines in the world to fly with during these unprecedented times.
After operating more than 4.6 million flown sections on more than 37,000 COVID-19-free flights across the globe since February 2020, Qatar Airways has recently reported extremely low numbers of COVID-19 cases onboard its planes.
In fact, more than 99.9 per cent of passengers travelling with Qatar Airways are COVID-19-free on board, with significantly less than one per cent of passengers confirmed to have tested positive by local authorities following a Qatar Airways flight.
Even the cabin crew have extremely low instances of the virus, with less than one per cent (0.002%) of operating cabin crew having been affected on board to date.
Since the introduction of a new uniform policy in May that mandated the wearing of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amongst cabin crew, there have been no new cases of COVID-19 recorded amongst staff.
This success is due to the airline’s robust COVID-19 monitoring, detection and hygiene programme, which includes a strict bio-security screening of crew, the mandatory wearing of passenger face shields and protective equipment on board, and the highest standards of cleanliness for all its aircraft.
For example, all planes are thoroughly disinfected after each flight and equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection.
5. They are rebuilding their network to keep Aussies connected
As recently as 16 October 2020, Qatar Airways is now operating more than 700 weekly flights across six continents. The recent resumption of services to Sofia via Bucharest marked the 100th destination to be added back to their network, and the airline has plans to increase its network to more than 125 destinations by the end of 2020.
When all Australians can fly again, an impressive global network across the Americas, Africa and Europe await, including Athens (ATH), Barcelona (BCN), Frankfurt (FRA), London (LHR/LGW), Rome (FCO), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Prague (PRG), Vienna (VIE), Male (MLE), Seychelles (SEZ), and Cape Town (CPT) and New York (JFK).
Sustainability and responsibility towards the environment have always been core to the Qatar Airways business ethic, reflected by their commitment to invest in one of the youngest fleets of modern, fuel-saving aircraft in the industry, including the largest fleet of A350-1000’s, as well as the Boeing Dreamliner 787.
Through the use of fuel-efficient efficient aircraft and strategic network management, Qatar Airways is doing its part to keep carbon emissions as low as possible.
What’s more, as they rebuild their network, they’re also working to operate their services using the most suitably-sized aircraft on each route, such as the A350, which consumes 20 tonnes of CO2 less per block hour on certain routes compared to the A380.
Indeed, until demand returns to pre-COVID levels, they’ll refrain from using their fleet of A380s. These factors have enabled Qatar Airways to quickly resume flights and expand services in line with passenger demand. You can read more about it here.
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