The Middle East Ramps Up Flights for FIFA World Cup 2022

Photo: Joris Wendt/AviationSource

LONDON – Airlines in the Middle East are ramping up plans to provide shuttle flights ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha later this year.

Qatar Airways has partnered up with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air & Saudia to provide match-day shuttle flights.

The purpose of these flights is so that fans can arrive in the morning and then depart late in the evening after their respective matches have been completed.

As laid out in a table by the airline, the following four carriers will operate the following frequencies and rotations:

CarrierCityTotal flights per dayRotations
Kuwait AirwaysKuwait City2010
Oman AirMuscat4824
SaudiaRiyadh and Jeddah4020

Executive Comments…

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:

“Connecting fans and shared love for football are at the heart of this game-changing partnership. We are immensely privileged to have the opportunity to unite fans from all walks of life to enjoy the beautiful game at its best while introducing them to our hospitable culture and traditions.”

“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will be the first in the Middle East and Arab world, and we have always believed that a win for Qatar is a win for the region.”

“The landscape of this tournament gives us the opportunity to spread the business with various regional airlines.”

“Our combined bandwidth with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, and Saudia will create travel flexibility that will bridge cultures and give fans the chance to explore multiple places in the Middle East.”  

Mr. Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said:

“We are very pleased to be part of this game-changing partnership with Qatar Airways and the other partner GCC national carriers.”

“This will allow us to welcome more football fans and visitors from all over the world to experience the warm hospitality and rich culture of our region.”

“Having recently hosted a global event in Dubai, we know first-hand the positive impact such events have not only on the travel and hospitality sectors but also on the wider economy and the overall morale.”

“We are honored to be able to play a part in supporting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™; enabling more people to share in the joy of the beautiful game via our 30 daily return Match Day Shuttle flights between Dubai and Doha.”

Kuwait Airways Chairman, Captain Ali Dukhan, said:

“We are proud to facilitate the transfer and travels of fans to and from Qatar for this monumental event.”

“Not only does this agreement enhance the connectivity of our gulf nations, but also facilitates the social and economic growth emphasized by Kuwait’s government.”

“We hope to share the excitement of the residents of Kuwait, the GCC, and the world throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and beyond by playing our role in the aviation industry in connecting Kuwait to the world.”

Oman Air Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Abdulaziz Al Raisi, said:

“We’re immensely proud to join our partners as we connect football fans to the sport they love and enhance their experience with convenient and seamless travel options tailored to busy schedules.”

“Match Day Shuttle flights are a great way for fans to see more of the rich and vibrant cultures that abound in the region.”

“As the football world comes together in Qatar, Oman Air is ready to welcome everyone on board to enjoy the signature warmth and hospitality Omanis are renowned for.”

Saudia Chief Executive Officer, Captain Ibrahim S. Koshy, said:

“Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is pleased to be offering flights from two main gateways, Riyadh and Jeddah, for fans to conveniently travel to attend the highly-anticipated FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.”

“Through the spirit of sport, we look forward to welcoming guests from around the world to visit the region and experience the signature Saudi hospitality on board, in addition to exploring a unique culture and heritage.”

Airlines All-In for World Cup Presence…

New airlines such as American Airlines are already planning to operate from New York to Doha from June 4th. It is trying to expand its network through its use of the Oneworld alliance it is in like Qatar Airways.

Lufthansa is also expanding its routes to Qatar, although it is currently confirmed that they are going to fly during the period the World Cup is taking place.

The airport is trying to focus on airlines such as Lufthansa as they’re only launching a temporal flight period, while if demand is enough for an extended period, or if the airport is offering a good enough deal for the airline, then Lufthansa might continue flying to Doha permanently.

 “There is no doubt that the World Cup has given the country great visibility,” Suri said. “These kinds of events leave an amazing legacy to the hosts for many of them becoming the springboard of their tourism development.  

“We are already working in close coordination with Qatar Tourism and other stakeholders in the value chain to promote this new world-class tourism destination—and we are ready to welcome and support airlines and tour operators.”

The World Cup Is Going to Benefit The Region…

This move would also greatly benefit the region, as it would make the Gulf countries less reliant on their oil production, and could focus their shift to tourism, which is an already growing market that just needs a boost, and the FIFA World Cup is a great excuse for the region to use as a potential means to come there.

Qatar is also expecting the capacity levels to be around pre-pandemic when the summer hits, which means that the aviation market, and also the tourism industry, is going to have to work hard around that period if they want to keep up the same standards as they had before.

The move to connect other airlines to Doha would also greatly benefit Qatar, as mentioned before, other airlines from within the same alliance like Qatar Airways would greatly benefit from the possible connections Qatar offers and would also improve their position as an airline, earning more trust from the passengers.

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