Qatar Airways CEO Says Travel Won’t Recover Until 2023
In a stark warning to all airlines, Akbar al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways has said he would be “very surprised” if demand for travel recovers before 2023/2024.
Akbar al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways has told Reuters News Agenct that he would be “very surprised” if demand for travel recovers before 2023/2024.
In a stark warning to the rest of the airline industry, Akbar al-Baker also cautioned his own business and fellow airlines that they may have to get used to reduced numbers as many business travellers might never return to the air as the business world gets used to working remotely.
Unlike some others, Qatar Airways, has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, maintaining services to around 30 destinations worldwide. This is a huge drop in their usual service. Before the pandemic outbreak, Qatar flew to 165 destinations and it is aiming to fly to 80 destinations by the end of June.
The airline industry has been savaged by the Coronavirus outbreak, with losses forecast to be as much as and high-profile backers such as Warren Buffet pulling all their stock in airlines.
Al-Baker has said that he predicts Qatar Airways will be able to fill between 50% and 60% of seats on their reduced service flights. His plan is also to encourage all passengers to keep a safe distance while onboard as the world prepares for prolongued social distancing. Qatar Airways also plans to rehire any employees made redundant as soon as countries start to lift travel bans imposed on air travel.
Al-Baker has also taken his place among a long line of CEOs helping the global fight against Coronavirus, announcing on Monday that it is giving away 100,000 free return flights to healthcare staff around the world.