How Qatar Airways is diversifying its American network


Qatar Airways has made great strides with its network in the United States. However, it is not just the United States where the Qatari flag bearer is strengthening its presence. The airline is present in many markets in North and South America. There are even routes that are unexpectedly becoming popular with the carrier.

Qatar Airways has deployed its widebody aircraft well in America, and its strategy means that it can still have a greater influence on operations after the first flight. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple theft

In the midst of this success, Mark Drusch, senior vice president of revenue management, alliances and strategy of Qatar Airways, spoke exclusively with Simple Flying about how the American diversification of his airline is. born.

Lots of activity pockets

In the Americas, an important market for Qatar Airways is Brazil. The country has been grappling with the conditions of the pandemic for many months. Nonetheless, even during the worst times of the past year, Qatar Airways has performed well with its operations to the South American nation. For example, it started deploying its A350-1000 in the country in May of last year.

The service dynamic continues. Qatar Airways will double daily to São Paulo by mid-August. The airline admits that a big part of its success is the partnership with LATAM. Thanks to this collaboration, Qatar is able to route traffic to the Brazilian national system. There have been an unusually high number of passengers on routes like Beirut across South America, thanks to the partnership.

LATAM Airbus A320 Getty
LATAM’s stronghold across Latin America helps partners from other continents connect with valuable markets in the region. Photo: Getty Images

Planners often do not see the potential of these types of markets, but partnerships open up new opportunities. This factor is supported by another example where Qatar sees a high number of passengers from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Perth, Australia, under the new partnership with Alaska Airlines. We’ve already stated that the Doha-based carrier’s partnerships in the United States are valuable, but the collaborations are also essential across North and South America.

Alaska Airlines Airbus A320-200 seen at Norman Y.
Qatar Airways executives and partners in its network have expressed the importance of partnerships for them under current conditions. Photo: Getty Images

Move the world

Overall, the partnerships have enabled progress to be made in the diversification of the Qatar Airways network. However, other factors were also instrumental, such as the airline continuing to fly during the worst of the pandemic. Notably, it was a vital entity in repatriating millions of people throughout the global health crisis when many airlines around the world had grounded their fleets.

The carrier was also influential in transporting essential supplies around the world. It was therefore a key player in helping society at all levels.

These moves have allowed governments to trust Qatar Airways more and trust the airline to transport passengers safely. After all, the airline has been praised for its hygiene measures amid the pandemic.

Qatar Airways 787-8
The airline has been a force in cargo and passenger operations since the rise of the global health crisis. Photo: Getty Images.

International recognition

Authorities that recognize the value of Qatar Airways include those of Canada. For years, the airline has been stuck on four frequencies a week to Canada, with all trips going to Montreal. The route dates back to 2011, with 3,400 flights flown since.

Drusch shares that thanks to the relationship his company has developed with the Canadian Embassy in Qatar as part of the repatriation assistance for Canadian citizens, Canadian authorities have granted Qatar Airways daily service to Montreal. This ramp-up is underway now because restrictions have eased on conditions for citizens to return to Canada.

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Benefits at all levels

There are benefits both ways. Air Canada added Doha to its network late last year. The national carrier is heading to the capital of Qatar with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, offering better connectivity to Air Canada and Qatar Airways passengers.

“We are back to Montreal on a daily basis, working brilliantly like the rest of North America. Air Canada started flying here to Doha in mid-December, which has been a tremendous success for them and for us. They now have four flights a week to Qatar ”, Drusch said a simple theft.

“So from our perspective, Canada is doing very well and we hope to have the additional opportunity to fly even more in Canada. It is one of the shining stars of our network.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FGFZ (1)
Despite the strict restrictions on international citizens arriving in Canada, Air Canada sees a positive response to its Doha service. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple theft

Minimize the risks

Overall, this market diversity is doing wonders for Qatar Airways and its partners. As industry challenges continue into the second half of 2021, it won’t hurt the airline to maintain an open network.

“The diversification of traffic flows, especially for me as a planner, is very pleasant to see. Drusch concludes.

“This means that we are not dependent on one or two factors, because as you know the markets are going to fluctuate for a number of reasons.”

All in all, Qatar Airways does not only depend on a handful of markets. If an airline has a diversified portfolio, there is less risk in the business. Thus, the carrier has done an excellent job in reducing the risks of operations, even in the most difficult climate the aviation market has ever faced.

Qatar Airways A350-1000
If one market is down, Qatar Airways is still able to maintain the revenue of another. Photo: Getty Images

This diversification is also an example of how nonstop flights are not always the ultimate solution for airlines. Qatar Airways’ ability to connect passengers across continents relies heavily on partnerships and single-stop routes.

What do you think of Qatar Airways’ approach to its markets in North and South America in the current climate? What do you think of the airline’s strategy with its global partners? Let us know what you think of the carrier and its operations in the comments section.

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