Qatar Airways (QR), the state-owned flag carrier airline of Qatar has recently said that it has withdrawn/reduced flights from 18 destinations to Hamad International Airport (DOH) to make room for other airlines flying fans to the FIFA World Cup 2022, which is set to begin from the next month.
Qatar will host the event from November 20 to December 18, with an estimated 1.2 million guests and 500 shuttle flights per day, as well as hundreds more charter aircraft and private jets.
Given the high number of arrivals in Doha, chief executive Akbar Al Baker stated at a press conference when asked if the airline was now expanding operations amid the FIFA World Cup, “Actually no, we don’t have any new destinations. Quite the contrary.”
Baker further stated that “We have reduced and withdrawn from 18 destinations in order to make space at Hamad international airport to bring fans. Our priority is not Qatar Airways’ network but giving access to all countries participating and bringing in large numbers of passengers.”
According to Badr Mohammad Al Meer, COO of Qatar Airways, hundreds of planes will land daily for the event. Many fans will also travel specifically for the games, preferring to stay in neighbouring Dubai.
“There will be 500 shuttle flights every day, but the list for charter planes has not yet been finalized,” added Al Meer.
The World Cup will feature 32 nations competing in eight stadiums located within 40 kilometres of central Doha.