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How Qatar Airways Is Diversifying Its America Network

Qatar Airways has been making great strides with its United States network. However, it’s not only the US where the flag carrier of Qatar is ramping up its presence. The airline has a foothold in numerous markets across North and South America. There are even routes that are becoming unexpectedly popular for the carrier.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1041 A7-ANE
Qatar Airways has been deploying its widebody aircraft well to America, and its strategy means that it can still have a wider influence on operations after the first flight. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Amid this success, Qatar Airways’ SVP of Revenue Management, Alliances and Strategy, Mark Drusch, spoke exclusively with Simple Flying about how his airline’s American diversification came to be.

Numerous pockets of activity

In terms of the Americas, an important market for Qatar Airways is in Brazil. The country has been struggling with the conditions of the pandemic for many months. Nonetheless, even during the worst periods over the last year, Qatar Airways has been performing well with its operations to the South American nation. For instance, it began deploying its A350-1000 to the country in May last year.

The service momentum is continuing. Qatar Airways will be double daily at São Paulo by the middle of August. The airline admits that a big piece of its success there is the partnership with LATAM. With this collaboration, Qatar is able to carry traffic into the domestic Brazilian system. There have been unusually high numbers of passengers on routes from the likes of Beirut to across South America, thanks to the partnership.

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

Planners don’t often spot potential in these sorts of markets, but the partnerships open up new opportunities. This factor is backed by another example where Qatar is seeing a high number of passengers from Fairbanks, Alaska to Perth, Australia, amid the new partnership with Alaska Airlines. We previously covered that the Doha-based carrier’s United States partnerships are valuable, but the collaborations are also proving key across North and South America as a whole.

Alaska Airlines Airbus A320-200 aircraft seen at Norman Y.
Leaders of Qatar Airways and the partners in its network have been vocal about how important partnerships are to them in the current conditions. Photo: Getty Images

Keeping the world moving

Overall, partnerships have driven the progress in diversifying Qatar Airways’ network. However, other factors have also been key, such as the fact that the airline had continued to fly during the worst of the pandemic. Notably, it was a vital entity in repatriating millions of people throughout the global health crisis while many airlines around the world had grounded their fleets.

The carrier was also influential in transporting critical supplies around the world. Thus it was a key player in helping society across the board.

These movements enabled governments to put further faith in Qatar Airways and trust the airline to safely carry passengers. After all, the airline was praised for its hygiene measures amid the pandemic.

Qatar Airways 787-8
The airline has been a force in both 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 from Canada. For years, the airline was frozen at four frequencies a week into Canada, with all trips heading to Montréal. The route traces back to 2011, with 3,400 flights conducted ever since.

Drusch shares that thanks to the relationship his company has developed with the Canadian Embassy in Qatar amid the helping of repatriating Canadian citizens, Canadian officials granted Qatar Airways daily service into Montreal. This ramp-up is running now because restrictions have loosened in the terms of returns into Canada for citizens.

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Advantages across the board

There are benefits both ways. Air Canada added Doha to its network at the end of last year. The flag carrier is heading to the capital of Qatar with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, bringing greater connectivity for passengers of both Air Canada and Qatar Airways.

“We are back up to daily in Montreal, working just brilliantly like the rest of North America. Air Canada began flying here to Doha in the middle of December, which has been extraordinarily successful for them and for us. They now have four flights a week into Qatar,” Drusch Told Simple Flying.

“So, from our perspective, Canada is doing great, and we hope to get the additional opportunity to fly even more into Canada. It’s been one of the shining stars in our network.”

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FGFZ (1)
Despite the stringent restrictions on international citizens flying into Canada, Air Canada is seeing a positive response to its Doha service. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Minimizing risk

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

“The diversification of traffic flows, particularly for me as a planner, is very nice to see,” Drusch concludes.

“It means we are not dependent on only one or two factors, because as you know, markets will ebb and flow depending on any number of reasons.”

Altogether, Qatar Airways is not just dependent on a handful of markets. If an airline has a diverse portfolio, there is less risk in the business. So, the carrier has done a great job to de-risk operations even during the toughest climate that the aviation market has ever faced.

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

This diversification is also an example of how nonstop flights aren’t always the be-all and end-all for airlines. Qatar Airways’ ability to connect passengers across the continents heavily relies on partnerships and one-stop routes.

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

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