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In a move that's almost certain to polarize opinion, Qatar Airways has modified the health and safety rules enforced onboard its aircraft to include a requirement for Economy Class passengers to wear both a mask and a visor for the duration of the flight. Business Class passengers will continue to be asked to wear a mask and/or shield at their own discretion.
Emirates has announced the reopening of one of its lounges in Dubai and has confirmed that its Chauffeur Drive service is once again being offered to customers with select premium bookings. In addition, the airline has continued to restart routes to countries around the world and will offer services to over 50 cities in July.
Qantas has unveiled the 3-year recovery plan it will be following as it navigates its way out of the current crisis, and the details shared by the airline show Qantas cutting a significant number of jobs, keeping a large proportion of its fleet grounded, retiring its 747s earlier than planned and admitting that the days may be numbered for in A380 aircraft.
Qatar Airways offers arguably the best all-around Business Class product in the world and it's a product that's better than a number of First Class cabins that I can mention. It also currently only offers its own First Class product on its Airbus A380 aircraft which the airline has already said it will be retiring...so will Qatar Airways really introduce a brand new First Class cabin?
The Airbus A380 may be the world's largest commercial aircraft but in an era of economical aircraft like the A350s, the A330neo, and the Boeing Dreamliners, the A380 is an uneconomical dinosaur. None of the airlines that operate the A380 have been flying them during the current crisis and some airlines have gone as far as to say that they'll never fly their A380s again...but for Emirates that's not an option.
Qatar Airways has grown to be the largest airline in the world during the current crisis, primarily due to the fact that it has continued to serve a variety of routes while most other large airlines have dramatically shrunk their capacities. Now, as airlines around the world begin to ramp up their services once more, Qatar Airways has confirmed that it now offers over 270 weekly flights to over 45 destinations...and the numbers keep growing.
Virgin Airlines has been living on the edge ever since the current crisis first hit the headlines as, unlike a lot of its competitors, it found itself unable to access the aid on offer from its home government. In its fight for survival, we have seen the airline cut over 35% of its workforce and abandon one of its hub airports and we have seen multiple pleas for help from the UK government go unanswered...but the airline keeps soldiering on.
Malaysia Airlines has announced that it has introduced "enhanced Economy fare options, putting customers’ needs as priority" which, in normal everyday language, means that it has introduced "hand baggage only" Economy fares which offer customers very little in return for no price decrease at all. Regardless of how Malaysia Airlines tries to spin this news, this isn't good for passengers.
Etihad has joined the growing list of airlines that are scheduling increased services between their home hubs and various cites in the United States and, in some cases, restarting routes that have been mothballed since the start of the current crisis. Etihad's latest schedule changes seen the airline planning to significantly increase services to Chicago and New York in just a few weeks' time.