Published on : Friday, July 24, 2020
Qatar Airways continues to show its resilience, launching another new destination during this crisis with Cebu, Philippines joining Brisbane, Australia and Toronto, Canada as new destinations to join the airline’s global network in the past few months. The national carrier of the State of Qatar will also resume its first China flights, with a once weekly Guangzhou service. The airline’s mix of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant its network has never fallen below 30 destinations throughout this crisis and has enabled the airline to adapt its plans and continue adding new routes.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to be launching a new direct service to Cebu, offering our passengers another gateway into the Philippines. Being the airline that has never stopped flying since COVID-19 hit, it has been Qatar Airways’ mission to take people home safely during the pandemic, and we have helped more than two million people get home to their loved ones since February.
“The resumption of Guangzhou passenger services is one of the significant steps taken by Qatar Airways to demonstrate our confidence in the gradual recovery of the regional travel market and global connectivity. Since the COVID-19 crisis started, we have challenged ourselves to be at the forefront and combat the effects of this global pandemic, by volunteering our services to deliver worldwide medical supplies coordinated by Chinese Embassies and Consulates. With over 40 onward available connections to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, passengers from Cebu and Guangzhou will be able to enjoy the Best Airline in the World and the World’s Best Business Class Seat while also having access to the largest and broadest network in the region via Hamad International Airport, the Best Airport in the Middle East.
“In addition to scheduled freighter services, we have also operated a large number of charters and freight-only passenger aircraft to meet China’s surging demand for imports and exports. With the resumption of passenger flights, we will have 49 flights in total, comprising of passenger freighters, belly-hold cargo flights and freighters in and out of Mainland China each week, providing more than 2,500 tonnes of weekly cargo capacity each way.”
Qatar Airways continues to lead the recovery of international air travel. By the end of July, the airline’s network will expand to over 450 weekly flights to more than 70 destinations with the additions of Cebu (three weekly flights starting 24 July) and Guangzhou (once weekly flight starting 26 July). The national carrier of the State of Qatar last operated flights to Cebu in March 2012. The relaunching of flights to Cebu will see the airline’s network in the Philippines expand to 13 weekly flights:
Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines and it is an important economic and trading hub along with being a popular tourist destination famous for its white sand beaches, turquoise waterfalls and world-renowned diving spots. Cebu joins Bali, the Maldives, Tunis and Zanzibar as some of the popular year round holiday destinations, Qatar Airways has resumed services to in the past few weeks.
Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. The airline’s variety of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant it can continue flying by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
To ensure travellers can plan their travel with peace of mind, the airline has also extended its booking policies to offer even more choice to its passengers. The airline will allow unlimited date changes, and passengers can change their destination as often as they need if it is within 5,000 miles of the original destination. The airline will not charge any fare differences for travel completed before 31 December 2020, after which fare rules will apply. All tickets booked for travel up to 31 December 2020 will be valid for two years from the date of issuance.
Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points. HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.