Qatar Airways to cancel Doha-Osaka route after slots row

Published December 1st, 2015 - 10:45 GMT

Qatar Airways has announced that it is suspending flights to the Japanese city of Osaka, citing “commercial reasons” for the move. The carrier presently operates a daily service between Doha and Osaka but said that it would reduce the frequency to five times a week from January 12 – and will stop the service completely on March 31.

Qatar Airways first launched a daily service to Osaka in 2005, following it up with services to Tokyo-Narita and Tokyo-Haneda in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The airline said it would continue operating flights to the two airports in Tokyo. Earlier this year, reports emerged about the Gulf carrier potentially halting flights to Japan due to slot restrictions at the airports. It was suggested that such regulations constrained the airline’s growth, as it could not cash in on timings that were profitable for it. But Qatar Airways later denied the reports and emphasized that it remained committed to the Japanese routes.

Cancellations are rare for Qatar Airways and its regional peers Emirates and Etihad. The three airlines have historically enjoyed strong economic benefits from most of their routes, helping them to further boost capacity. In fact, Qatar Airways launched a number of new routes this year including to Amsterdam, Zanzibar, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan and Abha.

The carrier is also planning to launch flights to Durban in South Africa and Nagpur in India before the end of this year. In 2016, Qatar Airways has a number of new routes lined up. The airline will start services to three new destinations in the United States – Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta – as well as two new destinations in Australia – Sydney and Adelaide – and Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

By Mary Sophia


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