Qatar Airways has relieved Emirates as the largest airline in terms of available international capacity. That writes the Wall Street Journal Sunday based on figures from OAG, an aviation data company.
Qatar Airways flies this week with twice the international capacity of Air France and 13 percent more than regional competitor Emirates. Incidentally, if domestic flights are included, American Airlines remains the largest airline in the world.
Qatar Airways is said to have won the sympathy of many travelers by repatriating stranded travelers when the corona pandemic broke out last year. The airline transported approximately 3.2 million passengers in the first four months of the corona crisis.
Despite the coronavirus, Qatar Airways also managed to acquire additional landing rights and significantly expand the number of destinations. In doing so, it hopes to preserve the first place as soon as the worst of the corona crisis is over and air traffic starts up again.
“We are trying to get everything we can,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker in conversation with the Wall Street Journal. The flip side of the coin is that the airline’s flights are currently on average 40 percent full. On some routes, the planes are only 15 percent full, says Al Baker.
Qatar Airways can afford this because it is a state-owned company and Qatar makes big money from gas extraction. In view of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the emirate’s rulers will benefit from keeping their airline in the spotlight. Qatar Airways wants to transport as many players and spectators as possible to the event.