Qatar Airways, the national airline of Qatar, said China continues to be a strategic market for the airline to rebuild its global network, and it looks forward to increasing its overall schedules to China as the border restrictions due to COVID-19 relax.
As Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup after China successfully hosted the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and Qatar Airways will serve as the official carrier for the games, the airline said it would provide crucial connections between Qatar and China.
"Before the pandemic, China had become one of the driving forces in the global outbound tourism industry. We continue to remain optimistic about the market's enormous potential, thanks to local authorities' effective control measures during the latest COVID-19 flare-ups," said Chan Cheong Eu, Qatar Airways senior manager for North Asia sales.
"Chinese customers can continue to rely on Qatar Airways' strong global network of 150 destinations when traveling to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas," Chan said.
Last Friday, Qatar Airways reported the strongest financial performance in history, which was 200 percent higher than its highest annual profit in history. In the most difficult period ever for the global airline industry, the company said it credits its positive results to its agile and successful strategy.
The profit is not only a record for Qatar Airways but also a record among all other global airlines that have released annual financial results, the carrier said.
During fiscal year 2021-22, the Doha-based airline reported record net profits of $1.54 billion. It saw a total revenue increase to $14.4 billion, up 78 percent year-on-year, and it was 2 percent higher than the result recorded in fiscal year 2019-20 when there was no pandemic.
During fiscal year 2021-22, the company witnessed passenger revenue surge by 210 percent year-on-year, fueled by the growth of flight networks, an increase in market share and higher unit revenue for the second financial year in a row. Qatar Airways carried 18.5 million passengers, surging 218 percent over the previous fiscal year.
"Our strategic investments in a varied fleet of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft have helped us overcome the significant challenges related to capacity constraints while balancing commercial needs as swiftly as possible," said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways Group.
Qatar Airways Cargo, the cargo unit of the group, remained a top player globally and revenue of its cargo business grew by 25 percent year-on-year, with cargo capacity increasing by 25 percent annually.
The carrier's extensive cargo operations in China have significantly helped boost its business performance. In 2020, Qatar Airways became the first Middle Eastern carrier to resume belly-hold operations to all of its destinations in China.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic disruption, Qatar Airways Cargo transported more than 3 million metric tons of airfreight from April 2021 to March 2022, and took an 8 percent share in the global market. So far, its cargo unit has transported more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the pandemic.
Air cargo is doing brisk business as the global economy continues its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, said the International Air Transport Association.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Qatar Airways expanded its passenger and cargo networks and built further customer and trade loyalty with cost controls. Last year, it became the world's largest global long-haul carrier by revenue passenger kilometers.
"Qatar Airways has demonstrated a robust role in the aviation industry, and these financial results are a clear indication of the group's strong performance," said Saad Bin Sharida Al-Kaabi, chairman of Qatar Airways.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways, another carrier based in the Middle East, said it saw strong results in cargo operations last year, and the cargo business is continuing to play a vital role in facilitating international trade.