Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers

Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers
Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers

Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers

Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers

The first ever FIFA Football World Cup in the history of the Middle East region, which was held in Qatar, had seen flight bookings to the country skyrocketing by 77% month-on-month in November 2022 and by more than 87% compared to November 2019, latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) data reveal.

In November, most travellers to Qatar came from the Middle East, rather unsurprisingly.

However, compared to other regions, it equalled to only 56% increase in bookings in November 2022 when compared to the same month in 2019, IATA Economics noted.

The second runner up in November (in terms of travellers to Qatar) was Europe, with a 146% increase in ticket sales compared to the same month in 2019.

Similarly impressive was the 1074% increase of bookings from Central and South America, although bookings from this region were the lowest among the regions in absolute terms.

In the Middle East, bookings between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Oman, as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, also increased because international travellers lodged in these countries and then shuttled to Qatar for specific matches.

In particular, IATA noted the share of passengers booking a return flight from Saudi Arabia to Qatar with only 0-1 nights of stay increased from 5% in October to 16% in November.

For the UAE, the share increased from 14% to 51%, and for Oman from 5% to 44%.

Looking more closely at bookings to Qatar, ticket sales originating in Morocco – a surprising semi-finalist in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – increased considerably in the week following its national team’s knockout of Spain in the Round of 16.

In particular, spontaneous bookings from Morocco to Qatar for the day of the match against Portugal increased from a total of four bookings three days prior to the match to 1171 bookings two days before the match.

For the match against France, IATA data show bookings jumped from five bookings three days before to a total of 1565 bookings two days before the match.

The same applies for ticket sales from Argentina, the winning team of the tournament.

Once the South American country qualified for the final against football heavyweight France, bookings to Qatar almost doubled.

The majority of tickets for flights before the final were purchased two days before, indicating the Argentinian fans reacted quickly to travel to Qatar to see the final match.

IATA economists, however, noted their data excludes charter flights, which in fact were quite significant in Argentina, increasing the total number of visitors.

Air transport is vital for international sports events, allowing people to travel and support their teams. After two and half years of travel restrictions, people are eager to travel again despite the challenging circumstances that the world is facing at present.

Middle East outlook: Middle East carriers are expected to post a profit of $268mn in 2023, after an estimated loss of $1.1bn in 2022. In 2023, passenger demand growth of 23.4% is expected to outpace capacity growth of 21.2%.

Over the year, the region is expected to serve 97.8% of pre-crisis demand levels with 94.5% of pre-crisis capacity.

The region has benefited from a certain degree of re-routing resulting from the war in Ukraine, and more significantly so from the pent-up travel demand using the region’s extensive global networks as international travel markets re-opened.

Globally, IATA expects a return to profitability for the global airline industry in 2023 as airlines continue to cut losses stemming from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to their business in 2022.

In 2023, airlines are expected to post a small net profit of $4.7bn — a 0.6% net profit margin. It is the first profit since 2019 when industry net profits were $26.4bn (3.1% net profit margin).

In 2022, airline net losses are expected to be $6.9bn (an improvement on the $9.7bn loss for 2022 in IATA’s June outlook).

This is significantly better than losses of $42bn and $137.7bn that were realised in 2021 and 2020 respectively.

The post Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers appeared first on Travel And Tour World.

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Qatar flight bookings skyrocket during World Cup, driven by Middle Eastern travellers

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