Qatar Airways is now the world's largest airline based on revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) flown, according to new data from the International Air Transport Association.
Qatar , Qatar
24 June 2020, 12:00 AM
30 June 2020, 12:00 AM
Data from the International Air Transport Association has revealed a new carrier at the top of the world's biggest airlines list. Qatar Airways is now the world's largest airline based on revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) flown. RPK is an industry metric based on the distance travelled by paying passengers.
The airline has now flown 50 million kilometres and 1.8 million passengers on more than 15,000 flights during the crisis.
Not only did Qatar become the world's largest airline based on this measure in April, it accounted for an extraordinary 17.6 per cent of all passenger kilometres worldwide for the month. Previously it wasn't even in the top 10.
The airline became "a lifeline" for many people stuck in different countries around the world; he says the opportunity also helped Qatar Airways' profile and reputation for reliability. According to Thierry Antinori, the airline's chief strategy and transformation officer, Qatar's previous experience in dealing with a crisis came into play.
"We didn't panic," he said.
The airline aimed to keep as many routes flying as possible, provided they could remain cash-positive for the airline and did not cause knock on effects. Mr Antinori cited the example of crew flying to China, who then would have been banned from flying into Australia or the US. It also quickly moved to start flying passenger planes as cargo-only aircraft.
Mr Antinori said the decision to keep flying was better for the airline's bottom line than grounding the fleet would have been.