Qatar Airways To Restructure Network During FIFA World Cup

The oneworld alliance member plans to suspend some routes to destinations not involved in the tournament.

Credit: Hasan Zaidi/Alamy Stock Photo
Al Bait Stadium Al khor will host FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

{{Qatar Airways}} will restructure its flight schedule during the FIFA World Cup later this year to accommodate the “huge rush” of passengers expected during the month-long football tournament.

“We will have to withdraw from many destinations in order to relieve capacity and to allow other airlines to come to Doha and utilize the slots, which otherwise would be nearly impossible to sustain,” CEO Akbar Al Baker said during a press conference at the IATA AGM in Doha (DIA).

Al Baker said that halting or reducing flights to countries not involved in the 32-nation tournament would enable the carrier to concentrate on transporting soccer supporters from key destinations in Europe, North America and South America.

The FIFA World Cup is set to take place between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18, with Qatar becoming the first Middle Eastern country to host the competition.

As well as suspending certain routes, Al Baker added that Qatar Airways plans to ask airlines in which it has bought equity stakes to help increase capacity during the tournament. He also encouraged other carriers to run shuttle-style flights in and out of Doha.

Qatar Airways announced in May plans to cooperate with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudiato provide match day shuttle flights during the World Cup.

The flights to Doha will be available from Dubai ({{DXB]]), Jeddah (JED), Kuwait City (KWI), Muscat (MCT)and Riyadh (RUH), arriving in Qatar’s capital in the morning and leaving in the evening. The services will enable football supporters to attend matches without staying overnight.

Al Baker said that the entire bank structure at Doha would have to be restructured to accommodate the expected rise in traffic, at the same time as “sacrificing the QR network for a period of 30 days.”