Major airlines in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are working together to provide passenger services during the FIFA World Cup, slated to take place in November this year.
Qatar’s national carrier announced on Thursday that it is “joining hands” with GCC carriers to organise a “match day” shuttle service during the event, which is expected to contribute around $20 billion to the economy.
Airlines involved in the air shuttle service are Flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudia. Air Arabia and Etihad may also provide additional flights “when they choose to apply”, according to Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
Under the partnership, Al Baker said multiple frequencies will be operated to bring thousands of fans daily to Doha from various points in the GCC, including Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City, Muscat and Riyadh during the World Cup event.
“These flights will be specially timed to allow a seamless experience for fans from start to finish, and with no luggage, they will be able to quickly start the day in Doha. Flights will be scheduled to arrive up to five hours before the match,” Al Baker said at a press conference on Thursday.
Flydubai is expected to offer up to 60 daily flights, bringing up to 2,700 fans per day to Doha, while Kuwait Airways will operate up to 20 flights for a maximum of 1,700 fans daily.
As for Oman Air, 48 daily flights with a maximum capacity of 3,400 passengers will be operated, while Saudia will offer 40 daily trips between Riyadh and Jeddah, flying up to 5,000 World Cup fans to Doha.
“This initiative will help truly make this tournament a World Cup for all, allowing us to share the business opportunities with various regional airline partners and also provide fans with a simple and convenient travel experience that minimises logistical considerations,” Al Baker said.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria )