Qatar Airways Group, on Monday, revealed that its overall revenue and operating income in 2019-2020 was QAR 51.1 billion (approximately USD 14 million), representing an increase of 6.4 percent compared to the previous year.
Despite asserting that the improvements in overall revenue, which were noted in the group's annual report for 2019-2020, emphasised the group’s resilience in the face of unprecedented hardships, Qatar Airways disclosed that these difficulties had resulted in a net loss of QAR 7 billion for the year.
Describing 2019-20 as "one of the most difficult years in the airline’s history", Qatar Airways highlighted the strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with an ongoing air space blockade against the State of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, the liquidation of Air Italy by the majority shareholder, as well as changes to accounting policy and reporting standards.
In addition to the 6.4 percent increase in overall revenue, Qatar Airways reported an 8.9 percent growth in passenger revenue, along with a 3.2 percent increase in capacity. Overall, Qatar Airways carried 32.4 million passengers over the year, representing a 9.8 percent increase compared to the previous financial year. In the same period, the total freight tonnes handled rose by 2.8 percent.
Qatar Airways Group's Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker stated, "Despite the momentous challenges our Group has faced in 2019-2020, Qatar Airways Group continues to remain resilient, reporting strong underlying fundamentals. If not for the exceptional circumstances of fiscal year 2020, our results would have been better than the year before".
He revealed that Qatar Airways had invested QAR 16.8 billion in their fleet as well as other assets during the fiscal year of 2020 and finished the year with a cash balance QAR 7.3 billion. He also noted that significant progress was achieved with regard to the three-year transformation plan which was initiated before COVID-19.
“I am extremely proud of the teams, departments and subsidiaries across the Qatar Airways Group that have remained agile throughout this tumultuous period and adapted quickly to this new reality".
He credited the aforementioned adaptability to Qatar Airways' status as the largest international carrier between April to July 2020, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Since the onset of the pandemic, the airline carried over two million people back to their respective home countries, as well as transporting 250,000 tonnes of medical and aid supplies to affected regions.
“I have every confidence that the Qatar Airways Group will emerge stronger from this difficult period and continue to innovate and set the standards that our competitors can only hope to emulate. We will continue to be the airline millions of passengers can trust and rely on in good times and bad, and proudly fly the flag of the State of Qatar across the globe".
According to Qatar Airways, the airline maintained a network of 30 destinations with continuous services to five continents, at the airline's lowest point during the pandemic. At present, Qatar Airways conducts over 650 flights per week to over 90 destinations across six continents.
Qatar Airways stated that the airline considered the needs of distinct markets when choosing aircraft from its variety of modern fuel-efficient vessels, assuring that there was no dependency on any specific aircraft type. The airline went on to reveal that its fleet of Airbus A380s were grounded due to the lack of commercial and environmental viability of operating such large aircraft amid COVID-19’s impact on travel demand. In order to provide services for strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, Qatar Airways has opted to utilise its fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787.
The carrier observes advanced safety and hygiene measures onboard its aircraft, including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers equipped with Qsuite, an award-winning business seat, can enjoy enhanced privacy including sliding partitions and a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar Airways' main hub, has also implemented stringent hygienic procedures and social distancing measures. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes while boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. Hand sanitizers are available at immigration and security screening points throughout the airport.
HIA was recently ranked 'Third Best Airport in the World' at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020, as well as the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth consecutive year and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth consecutive year. According to Qatar Airways, passenger traffic at Hamad International Airport increased by 8.6 percent during the financial year 2019- 2020.