New bookings have increased by so much that the Doha-based airline will bring back some of its temporarily grounded Airbus A380 superjumbos and launch additional flights to Australia, including its first service to Brisbane.
But those promises only tell half the story. New figures from Doha’s Hamad International Airport (which is a subsidiary of Qatar Airways) yesterday revealed that the government-owned airline had slashed its operations by 75 per cent in recent weeks.
In the coming days and weeks that service reduction is set to increase to as much as 90 per cent – in line with many other international carriers.
Passenger footfall through Hamad International Airport has fallen by around 90 per cent according to Badr Al Meer, the chief operating officer of the airport. In response to the slump in demand, around 60 per cent of employees have now been sent to work from home or put on temporary leave of absences.
Many of the shops in the airport are now shut apart from a few select food and beverage outlets for transit passengers.
Seeking to reassure travellers about the health and safety measures being taken onboard, Qatar Airways’ head of marketing Salam Al Shawa claimed at yesterday’s news conference that cabin crew now wear masks and gloves on flights, use disinfectants and are trained to maintain social distancing on flights (as much as that is actually possible).
In addition, cabin crew are thermally screened before and after every flight and those who test positive for COVID-19 are quarantined in their accommodation.
Controversially, however, Al Shawa said any quarantined crew had to use their annual vacation allowance.
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