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qatar a350Qatar Airways has announced the resumptions of services to Sofia via Bucharest, marking the 100th destination to be added back to its global network. The three weekly flights to Sofia starting from 16 October 2020 will see the airline’s network expand to more than 700 weekly flights across six continents.

The airline’s mix of fuel-efficient efficient aircraft and strategic network management has enabled it to quickly resume flights and expand services in line with passenger demand. 

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “As one of the few airlines to have continuously flown throughout the pandemic to take passengers home safely and reliably, we are proud reach this significant milestone in the rebuild of our network. Our focus is not only on restarting destinations but also operating as many frequencies as possible to provide our passengers the flexibility to travel when they want. With more than 700 weekly frequencies currently, and plans to increase our network to more than 125 destinations by the end of 2020, our passengers will enjoy more options to travel when they want across the globe, safely and reliably.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Qatar Airways has flown over 175 million kilometres taking home over 2.3 million passengers on over 37,000 flights. The airline has also operated more than 400 charter flights across the world enabling it to stay up to date with the latest airport and national health procedures and maintain a finger on the pulse of global passenger flows, in particular in markets where it does not operate regular scheduled flights.

Qatar Airways strategic investment in a variety of fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft, including the largest fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, has enabled it to continue flying throughout this crisis and perfectly positions it to lead the sustainable recovery of international travel. By the end of 2020, Qatar Airways’ plans to rebuild its network to more than 125 destinations including 20 in Africa, 11 in the Americas, 41 in Asia-Pacific, 38 in Europe and 15 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

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 Africa, 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 Frankfurt, Singapore, London and New York. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals.  It is the first entity in the world to achieve independent verification from BSI (British Standards Institution) for its implementation of COVID-19 ICAO Aviation Health Safety Protocols. The verification was conducted following successful audits for Compliance to International Civil Aviation Organization Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce ICAO CART. This important achievement marks the State of Qatar as the first country in the world to be verified by BSI for its COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol Implementation.

Sparing no effort in safeguarding its passengers, HIA continues to maintain a 1.5 metre physical distancing across all passenger touchpoints around the airport, through floor markings, signage and distanced seating. All passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes. All gates and bus gate counters are being cleaned after each flight. HIA’s retail and food and beverage outlets encourage contactless and cashless transactions through cards and are considering introducing online or in-app purchases in the future. The airport also conducts regular disinfection of all baggage trolleys and tubs.

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.

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