Qatar Airways is making strategic changes to its business model to offer passengers improved arrival and departure options to and from Doha during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this fall.
“We changed our business model for five weeks. Qatar Airways is becoming more of a point-to-point operation.”Qatar Airways chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori
Antinori expects hundreds of thousands of visitors, as many as a million, in Qatar for the event.
“Our current business model is 15% to stay in Qatar, 85% are in transfer. During the World Cup this will change to 60% will stay in Qatar, 40% will fly on.”Qatar Airways chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori
Normally, Doha’s hub operations have two intensive connection waves, and a third time bank that will be further developed.
“By smoothing out the flight plan, we create a permanent flow of arriving and departing passengers,” Antinori says. The Oneworld alliance member is implementing the strategy to shorten waiting times on arrival, as well as check-in times.
Qatar Airways will add services to some destinations during the World Cup, depending on where the demand is. “We will offer more flights than today from Doha to the U.S., Brazil and Europe,” Antinori says. Qatar Airways will fly, for example, to Madrid 5X-daily instead of twice-daily, while Doha flights to Sao Paolo and Dallas will rise to 3X-daily services.
To operate the adjusted schedule, Qatar Airways will reduce or halt certain services during the World Cup. The carrier will discontinue flights to Kano, Nigeria, and Lusaka, Zambia, while Bangkok services will be dialed down to twice a day.
“This means that we maintain a connection function, for example coming from Austria or Germany to Thailand, but not always as optimally as usual,” Antinori says, “but we try to remain competitive in our main markets.”
Qatar Airways have planned the schedule around its existing fleet. “It is true that we have chartered aircraft from Cathay Pacific [Boeing 777-300] and Oman Air [Airbus A330], but they all fly through our ... hub with our flight attendants, pilots and catering,” Antinori says. “We’ve also got eight A380s back in the air [and] some of our A330s. We have a flight plan that we can fly, and customers can rely on.”
The next stage is the opening of a new terminal extension in Doha in late September or early October, in time for the opening of the World Cup. Capacity will be increased to 58 million with that expansion.