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Monday, March 8, 2021

Qatar Airways cuts flights on nine more routes

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Passengers flying to Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu on Qatar Airways this summer may have their flights rebooked after the national carrier has announced further cuts to its flight schedules.

The decision is once again due to delays in deliveries from aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Qatar Airways said.

The flight cancelations will affect nine popular routes, including Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, and follows a similar announcement just over a week ago of cuts to 15 other Qatar Airways destinations.

The airline also recently decided to push back the launch of the world’s longest direct flight – from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand – by two months.

The service will now begin in February 2017, instead of this December, as initially planned.

Delivery delays

When questioned about the new cancelations, the airline reissued a statement that put the blame firmly on Airbus:

“We are making selective flight cancellations in several markets due to a delay in Airbus aircraft deliveries. We are minimising the impact on our passengers as much as possible…

The flight cancellations are taking the form of one flight per week in most of the affected markets through the summer.”

At a news conference in Atlanta yesterday to launch the airline’s inaugural flight to the US city, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told journalists that Qatar’s national carrier had wanted to launch a further five new destinations, but that it couldn’t do so yet, “because of delivery delays from Airbus.”

According to Airways News, he also said that the airline was “very serious” about “walking away from aeroplanes that do not meet Qatar Airways specifications.”

Late last month, he said the carrier could cancel its order of Airbus A320neo aircraft after finding problems with the plane’s hydraulics and software.

The airline had originally been scheduled to take delivery of the first of up to 80 A320neos by the end of last year.

A Qatar Airways Airbus A350
A Qatar Airways Airbus A350

Al Baker has also expressed his “great concern” over delays in the delivery of the new A350, which the airline uses on its long-haul routes.

While Qatar Airways is scaling back some routes, it continues to expand to other destinations.

In addition to launching its new service to Atlanta on June 1, the carrier made its debut flight to Armenia earlier this week.

Affected flights

Although the effect on some destinations will be limited, with only one or two services due to be cut each week, flights to some airports – like Dubai International, for example – will see significant cancellations of 27 per week in most of June.

Industry-watching website Airline Route lists the flight cancelations, noting that the changes have been made due to “aircraft reassignment.”

These are:

  • Doha – Abu Dhabi: Reduced from 42 to 39 weekly June 8 – June 22;
  • Doha – Bahrain: Reduced from 49 to 33 weekly June 8 – June 22;
  • Doha – Dubai Al Maktoum:  Reduced from 28 to 17 weekly June 7 – June 22;
  • Doha – Dubai International: Reduced from 105 to 77 weekly June 7 – June 22;
  • Doha – Kathmandu: Reduced from 21 to 17 weekly July 1 – Oct. 29;
  • Doha – Kuala Lumpur: Reduced from 21 to 20 weekly June 1 – June 29;
  • Doha – Kuwait City: Reduced from 56 to 42 weekly June 8 – June 22;
  • Doha – Muscat: Reduced from 28 to 26 weekly June 8 – June 28; and
  • Doha – Sharjah: Reduced from 21 to 14 weekly June 7 – June 22.

The move will mean disruption for passengers already holding tickets for the affected flights, although an airline spokesperson told Doha News that passengers are being offered alternative dates and times.

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