Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways today operated flights to the United Kingdom and France as part of its efforts to repatriate passengers stranded in Doha back to both countries.
Two wide-body aircraft originally scheduled to operate flights from Doha to London Heathrow and Manchester respectively, flew to the Scottish city of Edinburgh.
Another aircraft, originally scheduled for Paris, was re-routed to the French provincial city of Lyon. All three flights carried a full load of transit and ex-Doha departing passengers to the UK and France.
The Doha-based carrier has made arrangements to provide these passengers with road or rail transport from Edinburgh to either Manchester or London, and from Lyon to Paris.
The aircraft will remain positioned in Edinburgh and Lyon to fly Qatar Airways’ passengers stranded in the UK and France back to Doha and onwards to other cities in the airline’s network. Arrangements are also being made to provide surface transport for returning passengers from London, Manchester and Paris via Edinburgh and Lyon.
Qatar Airways has been working with the UK and French authorities to find a window of opportunity to fly amid the current uncertainty surrounding flights to and from affected European countries.
Like many airlines, Qatar Airways has faced an unprecedented situation arising from the spread of a volcanic dust cloud over parts of Europe since last week.
The airline has cancelled more than 135 flights to and from Europe since last Thursday for safety reasons, resulting in disruption to its network.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The situation over the past few days has been unpredictable and remains very fluid. It is a very unfortunate situation facing the airline industry.
“We at Qatar Airways have been working tirelessly to help get travel plans of our customers back on track and we are monitoring the situation frequently throughout the day, every day.
“I would like to offer my thanks to customers for their full understanding and cooperation under the current circumstances.”
Flying schedules to affected destinations are being updated regularly on Qatar Airways’ website www.qatarairways.com.
Passengers are urged to check their flight status on the website and to confirm bookings by contacting their local Qatar Airways’ reservation office.
As selected airports are reopening in phases, passengers are urged not to turn up at affected airports without a confirmed flight booking.
Once flights resume, it would take some time for schedules to return to normal and to clear the backlog of passengers flying to their final destination.