LONDON – Qatar Airways (QR) has this week announced its resumption of flights to South Africa, offering up to 19 flights per week. The services will resume today.

With a mix of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be used, services to Cape Town (CPT), Durban (DUR), and Johannesburg (JNB) will be the destinations in question.

It is unclear what the individual frequencies for each flight will be, but offering 19 flights per week will offer an international boost to South Africa’s air market.

Photo: Aidan Pullino

Al Baker Committed to Africa

Commenting on the launches was the Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker who expressed delight over South Africa. “We are delighted to resume flights to South Africa further expanding our network in the region.”

“We know many passengers across the world and in South Africa have been eagerly awaiting the resumption of scheduled international flights and we look forward to helping reunite them with their families and loved ones.”

“Qatar Airways has worked closely with the Government of South Africa throughout this crisis operating 28 special charter flights to help take over 11,500 South Africans and international travellers home.”

Photo: John Leivaditis

A Big Capacity Boost

With these new services, it now means that QR is servicing 63 weekly flights to 17 destinations across the African continent. The airline already operates 650 weekly flights to 90 destinations globally.

Qatar was also keen to note that during the pandemic, it never dropped below 30 destinations, due to cargo and repatriation operations at the start of lockdown.

The airline has also placed emphasis on the use of its 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that have been able to operate sufficiently due to its efficiencies and low-cost base, meaning that routes can be changed far easier and cheaper.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The fate of the A380

Bizarrely, in the release from the airline, it discussed what plans it has for its Airbus A380 aircraft that are still in storage. In a statement, the airline said it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate the aircraft.

“Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380 as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.”

“The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.”

More information on this will follow in an interview that will be released by Airways later this month.

Photo: John Leivaditis

Good News Either Way?

This is significantly good news for the airline, especially with the number of frequencies it will initially run with. Demand for South Africa appears to be very strong based on this data, and that going forward, it seems that QR will continue to have the right cards in its deck.

From operating consistently during the pandemic to slowly and gradually restarting operations successfully, it now has the chance to be successful once again, especially going into 2021.

Featured Image: Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons