Qatar Airways is leaving the door open to receive government support in the future. Speaking to Reuters, CEO Akbar Al Baker stated that the airline will need government support, eventually, in order to keep flying. Moreover, he stated that a number of flights are operating 50% empty.
Some Qatar Airways flights operating 50% empty
Some flights are operating at 50% occupancy– or less. This comes as Qatar Airways continues to operate a robust schedule. While other airlines have cut down on flight schedules, Qatar Airways has added new flights and upgauged aircraft on some routes.
However, Qatar Airways is still operating these flights due to, according to Al Baker, requests from governments and embassies– a similar statement to what Emirates indicated as justification for operating some flights before, of course, grounding flights entirely. In addition, these flights are designed to return people to their homes where governmental directives will allow.
However, with such a robust schedule and planes flying 50% empty, the airline is running out of cash. As a result, CEO Al Baker is leaving the door open to go to the government, eventually, to get support either as equity or loans. In the meantime, some staff have taken paid and unpaid voluntary leave, Al Baker has cut his salary in the meantime. However, the airline’s employees will not take pay cuts.
Other problems at the airline
Qatar Airways is in a bit of a difficult situation. Already, the airline was planning on less-than-stellar financials due to the ongoing blockade. As a result, some flights having to veer around closed-off airspace consuming extra time and fuel.
However, aside from this, there have been some developments at the airline. Qatar Airways is retrofitting its widebody aircraft to feature more of its innovative Qsuites, investing in other airlines around the world, revamping its economy class catering, and planning on taking on more aircraft.
Airlines seek government assistance
Qatar Airways is just the next airline in an ongoing list of carriers seeking cash to survive. Recently, the United States government outlined a $58 billion aid package to airlines. Although, there is at least one American carrier that will have ruffled feathers over Qatar Airways seeking government assistance after getting its own bailout.
Qatar Airways is unique in maintaining a robust flight schedule while other carriers continue to draw down services. However, now, CEO Al Baker is leaving the door open to requesting state aid as cash reserves start to run low. With flights at 50% full, however, this is not a terribly surprising development.
What do you think about CEO Akbar Al Baker’s comments on Qatar Airways seeking aid in the future? Let us know in the comments!