This is bad news for Qatar Airways …
Qatar and other countries have been added to the “Red List” of Great Britain
Britain has just put Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and Somalia on its “red list” for travel. From an aviation perspective, the biggest impact on Qatar Airways is given the size of the airline’s network in the UK.
As for the logistics of this change:
- The travel ban will be implemented on Friday, March 19, 2021, starting at 4 a.m.
- Resident UK, Irish, and third country nationals who have traveled to or from these countries in the past 10 days will be required to be quarantined in a government facility for 10 days. All others will be refused entry
Even those who have just crossed Doha will be banned
There are around three dozen countries on the UK “Red List” based primarily on the risk of importing various strains of coronavirus. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been on the list for several weeks.
What practical implications will it have if Qatar Airways is on the “Red List”?
- The airline could continue to operate cargo flights between Qatar and the UK as the ban is specific to passengers
- The airline could operate flights from Qatar to the UK with no passengers and then flights from the UK to Qatar with passengers as the ban is specific to entry into the UK. Emirates did this as the airline continued to operate flights to the UK but the flights to the UK do not have passengers on board
Emirates continued to fly to the UK despite the one-way ban
I don’t understand the logic
In general, I have a desire for countries to protect themselves from variants of the coronavirus, and I also understand that there is no perfect solution. However, the “Red List” approach in Great Britain seems particularly illogical to me:
- The vast majority of Qatar Airways passengers fly around Doha only briefly as Qatar’s borders are closed. So, does it really make sense to ban passengers based on where they briefly changed planes rather than where they spent a lot of time?
- If concern is slowing the spread of new strains of coronavirus, it seems counterproductive for people to return to the UK as soon as possible before these rules go into effect
In a way, it’s okay if all of this isn’t very logical. At the moment, the UK is a huge deterrent for people to travel. Perhaps the hope is that fewer people will travel when there are more tires to jump through.
Qatar (and with it the national airline Qatar Airways) will be added to the “Red List” of Great Britain at the end of this week and will join the Gulf rival Emirates. This means that Qatar Airways is prohibited from carrying passengers to the UK.
This is of great concern to Gulf airlines as they mostly carry passengers who are just transferring rather than focusing on O&D traffic.
What do you think of the UK Red List and Gulf Airlines concept?