Qatar Airways will begin a gradual rebuild of its network in the upcoming months, relaunching flights between Budapest and Doha next month, the airline tells the Budapest Business Journal.
The airline will operate the route three times a week in June. The frequency of flights will increase to four times a week in July, and five times a week in August.
Qatar Airways said that it will begin a phased approach to expanding its network in line with passenger demand evolution and the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world.
According to the press release, the airline maintained flights to at least 30 destinations during the coronavirus crisis, allowing more than one million people to get home.
"Throughout this crisis, our passengers have been at the center of our focus," Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said. "Our airline has implemented industry-leading hygiene practices and commercial policies enabling our passengers to book and travel with confidence. We have maintained a flexible and agile network to help take over one million people home through our state of the art hub in Doha and to transport more than 100,000 tonnes of essential medical and aid supplies to where they are needed."
"As we follow the indicators of the global travel market on a daily basis, we continue to focus on our mission - how we can enable mobility for our customers and provide them with seamless connectivity to their final destination. We have built a strong level of trust with passengers, governments, trade and airports as a reliable partner during this crisis and we intend to continue delivering on this mission as we gradually expand our network," he added.
The airline expects short-haul travel to rebound first, arguing that business travel between large cities will pick up more gradually. Qatar also expects a move towards visiting family and friends after months of lockdowns.
By the end of June, the airline aims to have 80 destinations in the schedule including 23 in Europe, four in the Americas, 20 in Middle East/Africa and 33 in Asia-Pacific.
The gradual expansion will focus initially on strengthening connections between the airline’s hub in Doha with the global hubs of its partner airlines around the world including London, Chicago, Dallas, and Hong Kong, along with reopening many major business and leisure destinations such as Madrid and Mumbai.