Taking into account lower global oil prices, Qatar’s national carrier will reduce the cost of flying on airline this year, the company’s CEO has said.
Speaking to reporters today, Akbar Al Baker said that the national carrier plans to cut the fuel surcharge that is added to passenger tickets in response to falling oil prices, but won’t cut its base fares. He didn’t hint at the size of the reduction, or when exactly it would come into effect.
Currently, the fuel surcharge appears to make up nearly 18 percent of the total fare on a one-way ticket, purchased a month in advance, from Doha to London, according to Qatar Airways’ website. Passengers pay a surcharge of QR460 (US$126) as part of their QR2,580 ($709) ticket.
Al Baker made the announcement in response to a question at a press conference marking the delivery of the inaugural Airbus A350.
Qatar Airways is the first carrier to receive the wide-bodied aircraft, which is expected to be 25 percent more fuel efficient than comparable long-range planes.
The A350 is scheduled to make its commercial debut next week flying from Doha to Frankfurt.
As Qatar Airways takes delivery of additional planes, Al Baker said the carrier plans to use A350s on flights to New York, secondary European cities, east Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The aircraft will be taking the place of A330s and Boeing 787s on these routes.
During the wide-ranging press conference, Al Baker also said that Qatar Airways is working with an unnamed supplier to develop technology that continuously transmits information recorded by a plane’s flight data recorder, or “black box,” to monitors on the ground.
Such devices could speed up the time it takes to investigate plane crashes, as well as possibly alert officials when a plane is deviating from its standard operations and is in trouble.
Al Baker’s comments come as the aviation industry grapples with the loss of Air Asia flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea on Dec. 28 while traveling from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
The cause of the crash, which is believed to have killed all 162 passengers and crew members on board, is still not known more than a week after the incident. Earlier today, searches said they had found a piece of the plane’s tail section where the recorders are housed.
While Al Baker said that Qatar Airways would be the first carrier to introduce the transmitting technology on all its aircraft, other airlines have installed separate data-streaming devices on its planes.
Canadian regional carrier First Air, for example, uses technology that sends updates from the cockpit to the ground every five to 10 minutes on a normal flight and is capable of streaming data every second if a plane deviates from its flight path, according to a recent CNN report.
Aviation experts told the news network that so far, major carriers have been slow to adopt the technology primarily because of the cost involved.
When they say cut do they mean get rid of it completely or just reduce it by a percentage?
It means that they will take that part of the charge, change the name to Fee X and keep on overcharging for the flights.
does that mean that they were overcharging before?
With the crashes of late I can sort of see why airlines try to cut costs in transponder technology. Is it just me, or as soon as a plane crashes the governments seem to take over recovery and I presume costs? Like who’s paying for the continued search the Malay Airways missing plane? Australia could be searching and racking up bills for months. Not criticising, I’m no expert, I guess I was just surprised how little the airway is involved in recovery. The MH370 and AirAsia cases the airline didn’t even know where the plane was. It blows my mind I can track my partner walking down a street to within 20m with an IPhone but a plane full of people can go missing in an engineering marvel costing millions.
That last line hit me..
There are ways and means of doing all of this. You can find your partner fairly easily as the phone can use many phone masts and gps tracking with a clear view of the sky and wifi to get its location. Most of this is free or almost free however for airlines they have to pay for everything and anything that is strapped to a plane. Also when you are in Oceanic airspace well away from any land mass there is no radar coverage (perhaps) no wifi and the only option is to use the satcom system. Thats pricey and the reason that onboard calls cost so much to make. If people want real time tracking then the governments and airline associations (IATA/ ICAO) will have to make it law. That will potentially raise the cost of ones ticket.
On the SAR point, when a country signs up to ICAO then they have to accept what goes with the job. If someone goes missing in your area then you must coordinate the SAR. Countries can ask for help of course especially if they don’t have the cash. The US, UK, other EU nations and the developed world usually pitch up with ships / planes.
Good reading ta. Do you think the costs of using satcom to track airplanes in an accurate way would offset “losing” a plane? Would I be right in thinking the airlines insurance does the passenger payout and the gvt pays for the recovery, so for the airline there’s not much actually to be gained by investing in “iphone technology” to track the plane in real time.
In short you are correct however no airline wants to loose a plane. There is an old saying that goes “if you think maintenance is expensive, try having an accident”. Related to all this of course is the question of added value. I feel that people believe that real time tracking would solve planes going missing. The truth is that real time tracking will not save the people on board. Once the doors are closed the people inside are very much by themselves and only the flight crew/cabin crew can save them. If there is an incident or accident then tracking the plane will not provide any assistance. What it would make easier (relative statement here) is finding the wreckage. Having that said consider a 300 ton plane breaking up at 40,000 feet (FL400) traveling at over 500mph. The search area even with tracking is still huge. The real advantage would be to assist finding the FDR and closure for the families.
Every reasonably sized plane probably has the required equipment (ACARS) for this already on board. I believe Iridium is now offering position tracking for free now, so combined with the inevitable public pressure after this 3rd incident, perhaps FDR data being streamed home in case of emergency may become mandatory. Is the cost worth it though? It is only 3 incidents in 5 years so that’s a lot of flying hours it would be irrelevent on.
Might not have helped in MH370’s case anyway since it looks like stuff was switched off from the cockpit.
ACARS Would only work if the aircraft was able to send the messages to a ground station via VHF, this is OK over land, however, over SEA there are no BHS GROUND stations , ACARS messages would need to be transmitted via satellite, aircraft would need to be installed with satellite equipment, this equipment is not always installed. This is also true in respect to the free service being offered by inmarsat, the aircraft would need to have the necessary equipment installed.
Absolutely. When I say most aircraft will already have the equipment, I am including the satellite uplink. It is often not used or subscribed, but it is almost always there since the cost of the equipment is negligable compared to the airframe, engines and even the in-flight entertainment system.
I believe the missing plane’s location is known to a lot of countries; but due to some Geo-political reason it is not being shared. And the Malaysian authorities have no choice but to say that they will keep looking. With thousands of satellites looking at every inch of the globe at every moment of a day, I have hard time believing that it’s location is still unknown!
No way…..I mean its not like they can use a Satellite to find drops of oil miles under the ground or anything….but a plane….that is just to hard.
So if the new Airbus 350 is 25% more efficient does this equate to a 25% cut in the fuel subsidy for all routes that this aircraft is used on ??? Might be a start.
Surcharges are all deeply anti-consumer attempts to manipulate cost comparison sites, and it isn’t big or clever. It wastes my time.
I recently took a Gulf Air flight where the tacked-on taxes, fees and surcharges were more than the quoted “flight cost”! Was still cheaper than QR though.
Taxes, charges, fees, surcharges – all irrelevant for everyone buying the ticket. I just want to know how much I have to pay.
Matt Bradley from Flyht describes FlyhtStream which FirstAir uses.
Why is my 90 minute trip from Doha to Oman costing me 520QR in fuel surcharge(purchase in Feb), when the 7 hour flight to London is only 460 QR according to the above?