DALLAS – As one of the most global airlines out there, besides being able to connect the east to the west, Qatar Airways (QR) has something big coming its way—the FIFA World Cup 2022.
In just 72 days, the world’s largest sporting event is to commence across the state of Qatar, and for QR, the official airline for the World Cup, it’s as busy as it gets nevertheless an opportunity any airline would like to have to prove its operational performance.
Airways‘ Siddharth Ganesh recently held an exchange with a QR spokesperson, focusing particularly on how the carrier would run its operation during the World Cup season.
SG: First the IATA AGM, and soon the FIFA World cup, how big a deal is this for Qatar Airways?
QR: Hosting events such as the IATA AGM and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ demonstrates an overall consensus of trust in Qatar’s ability to host world-class events. With the upcoming FIFA World Cup™, we cannot wait to welcome visitors and fans and hope that, beyond football, fans take some time to explore our beautiful country, our people, and our authentic blend of traditional culture and modernity.
Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host a FIFA World Cup™ and we want every visitor to have an unforgettable experience, leaving our country with lasting memories.
Hosting such a large-scale event as the World cup, you definitely need an edge – where does Qatar Airways stand out?’
Qatar’s track record for successfully delivering large-scale events speaks for itself. Take, for example, the 2006 Doha Asian Games, the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 and 2020, and the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the first ever tournament of its kind on Arab soil, which is a historical feat in itself. Furthermore, beyond the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar aims to create a legacy of sustainable economic, environmental, social, and human development for the nation that falls in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as our own Qatar National Vision 2030.
We hope the tournament expands the narrative surrounding Qatar, encourages travelers to visit, and puts the country on the map as an incredible destination.
Some sporting competitions have the incredible power to bring people together as nothing else can, and hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will allow us to be part of, and facilitate, cross-cultural moments of human achievement and unity in a spectacle only rarely seen in such prestigious events.
QR will be slashing some of its flights during the world cup months if I’m right. Which ones and why?
With a surge in passenger demand expected during the FIFA World Cup period, Qatar Airways will implement various strategies to maximize capacity and optimize its network to ensure that fans from around the world experience the airline’s award-winning service.
These strategies include increasing capacity in countries that have qualified for the tournament, as well as those countries where football fans are likely to travel to Qatar for the historic event. The airline will redesign the network to make it more agile and flexible, offering passengers seamless connectivity around the world.
QR will be offering ‘Shuttle flights’ for the World cup – What routes would they be and can passengers expect the entire QR service onboard?
As part of the commitment to make the first ever FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 hosted in the Middle East and Arab world an all-inclusive gala event, Qatar Airways has tied up with four GCC airlines, including flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, and Saudia.
The motive behind this game-changing Shuttle Flights partnership is driven by the purpose of uniting fans and our shared love for football. The flights will connect match ticket holders to Doha via Match Day Shuttle flights for 24-hour experiences during the tournament period. By choosing to book a Match Day Shuttle flight, fans will arrive in the morning and depart in the evening, with no hotel accommodation required.
Additionally, a no check-in baggage policy will simplify an easy-in, easy-out travel itinerary for the passengers. Football fans based in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, or UAE, are able to book their Match Day Shuttle flights.
This service is designed with the purpose of connecting fans seamlessly to Qatar so they can attend their respective matches and capture the sights and sounds of the host country, before departing Doha on the same day. Match Day Shuttle tickets will kick off with rotating frequencies from Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City, Muscat, and Riyadh.
Fans are invited to visit qatarairways.com/MatchDayShuttle and the partner airlines’ websites to learn more and secure their flights. Qatar Airways will also be adding more Match Day Shuttle flights across the GCC in the future, as well as flying in football fans from around the world on its extensive global network.
Do World cup ticket holders pay for shuttle flights?
Yes, FIFA World Cup match ticket holders will need to separately purchase their Match Day Shuttle flight tickets.
What other airline would offer shuttle flights from the region? Would you consider a temporary codeshare for this period to be more efficient?
In line with the commitment to make the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 an inclusive regional event, we are committed and open to cooperating with other regional airlines that are interested in operating shuttle flights for football fans during the tournament period.
Is there going to be a special Qatar Airways flight that will ferry the World Cup trophy to Doha before the event starts?
While this initiative is currently not scheduled, we are continuously discussing potential initiatives and activation ideas with FIFA.
What can someone expect if they purchase the Qatar Airways World Cup package?
As the official airline of FIFA, Qatar Airways offers fans across the globe the opportunity to seamlessly experience the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. These packages include match tickets, flights, and accommodation throughout the course of the tournament, allowing passionate football fans to secure their seats and follow their favorite team during the first-ever tournament of its kind in the Middle East.
Customers can purchase their package through a single dedicated platform by heading to qatarairways.com/FIFA2022.
Qatar Airways A7-BEB Boeing 777-300(ER) Fifa World Cup 2022 Livery. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways