Gulf airlines will operate more than 160 flights per day to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup which is being held in Doha between November 21 and December 18, 2022. The airlines, which so far include Qatar Airways, flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudia, will coordinate schedules to provide a day trip shuttle service for matchday ticket holders.
The shuttle flights will be dedicated to serving soccer fans with passengers only allowed to bring hand luggage with them to make the boarding and turnaround process as efficient as possible.
Fans will arrive at airports at around 7:00 am in the morning and arrive in Doha by 8:30 am. They’ll then be driven by dedicated coaches to and from the stadium, before flying back home the same day.
The shuttle service will help alleviate pressure on the tiny state of Qatar which is struggling to build enough hotels and hospitality venues to host the hundreds of thousands of fans who have secured tickets for the soccer spectacular.
“We will be collectively hosting day trip shuttle flights from Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City, Muscat and Riyadh for fans who have secured their FIFA World Cup match tickets,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker announced on Thursday at a press conference held in Doha.
“Needless to say, that there will also be additional flights by Air Arabia and Etihad when they choose to apply,” Al Baker continued.
Al Baker said the shuttle service would allow the entire Gulf region to share the economic benefits of the World Cup, although such an idea would have seemed impossible a little more than a year ago when Qatar was subjected to a Saudi-led blockade over its alleged support of Iran.
flydubai will operate as many as 60 daily flights from its hub in Dubai which is expected to be a major base for international soccer fans. The airline will be able to bring 2,500 passengers per day, while Oman Air will be able to transport 3,400 fans on 48 daily flights.
Kuwait Airways has committed to transporting as many as 1,700 fans on 20 daily flights, while Saudia will use larger aircraft to transport 5,000 fans across 40 flights from Riyadh and Jeddah.
Al Baker said he was confident that Doha Hamad International Airport was ready and capable of dealing with the huge influx of passengers and promised a “seamless” immigration and travel experience.
In addition to the World Cup shuttle flights, airlines will continue to operate normal scheduled flights to Doha.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.