During the World Cup, fans based in the GCC countries will enjoy 160 daily shuttle flights to Doha facilitated by a partnership between Qatar Airways and regional airlines.
Requests for private jets to Doha has experienced a stark surge ahead of the much-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November, DC Aviation Al Futtaim (DCAF) announced on Tuesday.
In a bid to tackle the rise in demand, the joint venture between Stuttgart based DC Aviation GmbH and Dubai-based privately owned UAE business conglomerate, Al Futtaim is set to offer football fans special charter flights from Dubai to Doha in time for the major tournament.
Available aircrafts will range from an affordable four-seater Cessna Citation Mustang to the light jet eight-seater Pilatus PC-12, the midsize jet nine-seater Bombardier Challenger 604.
DCAF will also be able to offer a 10-seater Falcon 2000 as well as large-size cabin aircraft, reports said.
DCAF has been witnessing such sharp increase for the later stages of the tournament from the first week of December until the finals, to be hosted on 18 December at Lusail Stadium.
“We are closely monitoring the level of enquiries and are well prepared with our offering,” said Holger Ostheimer, managing director of DCAF, as quoted by reports.
Daily shuttle flights
Qatar Airways announced in May its partnership with regional airlines to enable World Cup 2022 ticket holders to travel into the Gulf country and back from countries in the region just for the day during the entirety of the tournament.
The announcement included an extra 30 daily rotation flights between Dubai and Doha, operated by flydubai, 10 daily rotation flights between Kuwait City and Doha, operated by Kuwait Airways, 24 daily rotation flights between Muscat and Doha, operated by Oman Air, and 20 daily rotation flights between Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha.
This brings the total to more than 160 daily flights for football fans based in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Through the Match Day Shuttle flight option, supporters will arrive to Doha in the morning and depart in the evening, with no hotel accommodation required.
A no check-in baggage policy will also be available to simplify an easy-in, easy-out travel itinerary for the passengers.
flydubai will be able to bring 2,500 passengers per day, while Oman Air will be able to transport 3,400 fans. Kuwait Airways has committed to transporting as many as 1,700 fans, while Saudia will use larger aircraft to facilitate 5,000 fans from Riyadh and Jeddah.
In addition to the World Cup shuttle flights, airlines will continue to operate normal scheduled flights to Doha.
These flights will add to the current estimate of the CO2 emissions during the tournament.
Climate activists argue the extra shuttle flight plan poses an issue to the tournament’s sustainability mission.
Ahead of the flight plan announcement, organisers had estimated that the carbon footprint for the major sporting event will equate to over 3.6 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas, more than half of which will come from traveling fans.
The World Cup in Qatar will offer the first ever climate-neutral experience in history, meaning during the event, carbon footprint will be offset through some of the green initiatives the government has invested in. Organisers have established a “Global Carbon Council” tasked with “identifying quality projects.”
A Carbon Market Watch’s (CMW) “Yellow card for 2022 FIFA World Cup’s carbon neutrality claim” report released in June sheds light on some of the doubts cast on this year’s World Cup. It claimed that carbon emissions from new stadiums could be up to eight times greater than the figures in Qatar’s initial report, criticising “the choice of accounting approach.”
In a statement, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy dismissed CMW’s claims as “speculative and inaccurate,” affirming that the country is on a track to smoothly carry out carbon-neutral World Cup plans.
The Gulf country’s commitment to a climate-neutral World Cup 2022 should be “recognised, rather than criticised,” a spokesperson said.
In a September press release, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said one of the benefits of hosting the World Cup was “the compact nature” of Qatar. The short proximity between stadiums would dismantle the need for domestic air travel by supporters and reduce the carbon footprint of the tournament. It went on to say air travel is “recognised as one of the world’s largest sources of carbon emissions.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker defended the decision to operate more than 160 additional daily flights to shuttle spectators between Doha and neighbouring cities, during what has been billed as the first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup.
“Please don’t believe people saying only negative things,”Al Baker said in an interview with CNN in late May, adding that he was certain the flights would be completely filled.
“We have airplanes which have very low emissions compared to the normal aircraft most of the other airlines fly,” including long-haul flights, he stressed.
The airline has also deployed a successful fuel optimisation programme covering over 70 separate programmes, which includes reducing weight on board aircraft and flight path optimisation. In addition, it has introduced a 20-minute contingency fuel policy, which has resulted in “significant fuel savings.”
“His Highness the Amir always wanted to share the benefit of this tournament with all of our neighbours,” Al Baker said.
Flight fares soar ahead of World Cup 2022
FIFA World Cup organisers estimate that about 1.5 million visitors will attend the upcoming major football event.
Airlines have significantly increased their flight prices to Qatar during the tournament dates.
The countries which have requested the most ticket applications to date, include the host nation Qatar as well as Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.