Qatar Airways announced that it is currently the only Middle East Carrier flying to Athens, following the developments in air transport due to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.
“We need to inform consumers who need to fly home to their loved ones that Qatar Airways continues to operate four weekly flights to Athens,” the airline said in an announcement to its partners, underlining that the main reasons it continues to fly is to help to get people home to their loved ones, and transport essential medical suppliers to where they are needed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline currently operates the four weekly flights to Athens from 70 origins, though the number may reduce as the government may introduce tighter restrictions.
Until March 31:
QR 203/ From Doha to Athens/ Departing 07:30am Arriving 12:10pm
QR 204/ From Athens to Doha/ Departing 13:35pm arriving 17:45pm
As of April 1:
QR 203/ From Doha to Athens/ Departing 02:00am Arriving 06:40am
QR 204/ From Athens to Doha/ Departing 12:20pm arriving 16:20pm
Qatar Airways also stated it is expanding operations to Australia and adding approximately 48,000 seats to the market in the coming days, as people seek to return home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline will operate the following flights:
- Daily service to Brisbane (Boeing 777-300ER);
- Double daily service to Perth (Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER)
- Double daily service to Melbourne (Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER)
- Triple daily service to Sydney (Mix of Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER).
The pandemic opened a new route for Qatar Airways, as it will operate flights to Brisbane for the first time.
Doha (which is home of Qatar airways), is one of the few transit options left for people wishing to get to and from Australia and New Zealand, after many countries tightened border restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time.We are thankful to the Australian government, airports and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane,” Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker stated.
Qatar Airways has also added additional flights from Auckland (New Zealand) to the UK via Doha, British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke announced.
"Qatar Airways maintains the highest possible hygiene standards, which include the regular disinfection of aircraft, the use of cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and thermal screening of crew. In addition, Qatar Airways’ aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection. All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are removed of ear foams and rigorously sanitized after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves," the offical statement from Qatar Airways added.