MIAMI – As part of its flexible change policy, Qatar Airways (QR) has announced that it has paid out over US$1.2bn in refunds to almost 600,000 customers since March.

The airline further said that its team has processed 96% of requested refunds since that period. Currently, QR is processing all new refunds back to the original form of payment.

According to group CEO His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the paid amount had an impact on the QR’s bottom line. However, Al Baker said the airline has the duty to honor its commitments to its customers and trade partners.

Thus, tickets are now valid for two years from the date of issuance. This new policy will also allow passengers to change their travel date, origin, and final destination free of charge.

In addition, they can exchange their ticket for a future travel voucher or swap them for Qmiles.

Over one third (36%) of Qatar Airways passengers selected one of flexible options (ticket change, travel voucher and swap Qmiles) over a refund.

Qatar Airways’ Response for Customers

While its CEO said the carrier is strong enough to mitigate the impact of the refund policy, the company has taken other actions to ensure it is responding to passengers. Per day, it recorded over 10,000 requests.

Using its automation capabilities, QR enabled an online request process for refunds and travel vouchers.

Regarding QR staff, the airline redeployed employees from other areas of the business to assume roles in its global network of customer contact centers.

Despite the continuing impact of COVID-19 on global travel, QR has reported a decrease in the number of refund requests.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner A7-BHG. Photo: ©Luca Flores

Qatar Airways’ Measures to Face the Ongoing Crisis

Qatar Airways has kept operative its full fleet of 30 Boeing 787 and 49 Airbus A350 aircraft. In contrast, it grounded its Airbus A380 fleet as it was not commercially or environmentally profitable in the current market.

As for its routes, the airline is operating about 500 weekly flights to 80 worldwide destinations via its home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Regarding its safety and health measures, QR provides Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin Crew and complimentary protective kit for passengers.

Featured image: Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR. Photo: Qatar Airways.