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The New Arab

Qatar Airways to resume flights to 80 destinations by June

Qatar Airways is set to resume flights [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2020

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Qatar Airways has decided to resume flights to dozens of countries in the next few weeks despite Covid-19 still being a problem in some parts of the world.

Qatar Airways has revealed that it plans to fly a summer schedule to over 80 destinations worldwide despite concerns over coronavirus.

The airline took to Twitter to announce the news.

"With our Summer schedule, we aim to operate to more than 80 destinations spanning from East to West," the kingdom's official airline wrote on the social media website.

It is one of the few airlines globally that has continued flying despite lockdown efforts set up across the world to curb the spread of Covid-19, and maintained services to nearly 30 destinations.

Despite plans to fly to destinations previously suspended due to the virus, the long-term return to normal service is predicted to be, like with most airlines, slow.

The airline was one of many to announce plans to let go of a "substantial" number of employees as a result of the pandemic.

Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said that demand for global travel will take years to recover.

The CEO said he would be "very surprised" if travel demand recovers before 2023-2024.

In an effort to stagger a slow recover, Qatar Airways will reduce its fleet by a quarter, and there will be a reduction in flights.

"I am sure there will be demand," al-Baker told Reuters, estimating the airline would be able to fill between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of seats.

"There are still a lot of people stranded around the world (and) people who want to visit their loved ones."

New safety procedures

New health and safety procedures are to be introduced on the airline to protect passengers from contracting Covid-19.

Cabin crew will begin wearing protective suits and passengers will have to wear face masks on board.

Up until last week, crew had been wearing face masks and gloves whilst on board, and the protective suits will be provided with the increase in flights, which they will have to wear over their uniform.

"We have introduced these additional safety measures onboard our flights to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our passengers and cabin crew, and to limit the spread of coronavirus," al-Baker said.

Those who are caught not wearing masks inside Qatar risk a fine of 200,000 riyals ($55,000) and a prison sentence of up to three years.

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