Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Long-haul carrier Qatar Airways on Sunday reported revenue losses of $ 1.9 billion for the past year, blaming the coronavirus pandemic, its liquidation of Air Italy shares and the boycott being Doha by four Arab countries for the decline.
Qatar, an energy-rich country, was itself due to bail out the state-owned airline at the end of its fiscal year on March 31 with $ 2 billion to keep the airline in business, its annual report acknowledges. The carrier also blamed the new accounting rules for further increasing losses in the past year.
“Without the exceptional circumstances of fiscal 2020, our results would have been better than the previous year,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said in a statement. The airline carried 32.3 million passengers in the last fiscal year, up from 29.4 million the previous year.
But Qatar Airways is in the same position as competing Gulf long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, cutting thousands of jobs while trying to expand its network as travel restrictions disappear around the world. That’s when demand for flights remains weak amid fears over the virus, which has taken its toll on international travel. The airline said it has more than 50,000 employees on its payroll in the report.
Qatar Airways, which operates some 250 planes from the recently built Hamad International Airport in Doha, follows the model of other Gulf carriers in providing an East-West connection from its location in the Arabian Peninsula. But the decline in demand has seen the carrier on the ground its double-decker Airbus A380s “because it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in today’s market,” said the airline in a statement.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global aviation for months, which is only starting to recover. Qatar has also been targeted by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a boycott since June 2017. This boycott continues today, despite the efforts of other Arab countries in the Gulf and the United States. United to reconcile the countries involved in the political conflict.
Al-Baker said that since the pandemic, Qatar Airways had carried more than 2 million passengers and carried more than 250,000 tons of medicine and aid to areas affected by the coronavirus.
“I have no doubts that the Qatar Airways group will emerge stronger from these difficult times and continue to innovate and set standards that our competitors can only hope to emulate,” he said.
The February collapse of Air Italy, a regional carrier in which it had a 49% stake when it launched in 2018, also hurt the airline. Qatar Airways in its financial statements said it would likely lose almost $ 400 million on Air Italy alone.
Qatar Airways also restated its losses from the previous year in Sunday’s financial report, placing it at nearly $ 1.3 billion, from the previously reported $ 639 million. He lost $ 69 million in 2018.