While the pandemic (and quarantining) has been hard on us, it sure has been harder on airlines. With empty flights and ongoing cancellations due to COVID-19, almost all airlines have been in financial crises.
Qatar Airways, however, has announced that their world-first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight took off today, according to a press release on their website. QR6421 left from Hamad International Airport at 11:00 AM (local time) carrying only vaccinated crew and passengers onboard.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Today’s special flight demonstrates the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far away. We are proud to continue leading the industry by operating the first flight with a fully vaccinated crew and passengers and providing a beacon of hope for the future of international aviation."
He also added that "With aviation being a critical economic driver both globally and here in the State of Qatar, we are thankful for the support we have received from our government and local health authorities to vaccinate our staff, with over 1,000 vaccinations being administered per day."
The flight, which is set to return to Doha at 14:00 (local time) includes the world’s first ‘Zero-Touch’ in-flight entertainment technology. In more good news, the flight will also fully carbon offset in line with the carrier’s environmental responsibilities.
The airline also revealed that it is the first airline in the Middle East to trial the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, a mobile app that can be used by passengers to obtain and store their COVID-19 test results from accredited laboratories.
"Before the pandemic, Qatar Airways became the first and only airline to be awarded the Skytrax Airline of the Year five times. When the pandemic hit its peak in early April, our airline continued flying to help repatriate millions of stranded passengers and transport essential medical supplies, while also implementing the latest innovations in biosafety and hygiene," Al Baker added.