Qatar Airways will suspend 15-20 routes to adjust network for World Cup surge: CEO

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Qatar Airways will temporarily suspend 15-20 routes in November and December to adjust its network and manage the increase in passenger traffic due to the FIFA World Cup, the company’s CEO Akbar al-Baker said on Tuesday.

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The company is asking airlines it has invested in to operate some flights for it during the World Cup, al-Baker added.

He said that a “huge rush” of passengers is expected for football’s largest tournament, which is due to start on November 21.

Qatar hopes to attract 1.2 million visitors – nearly half the size of its population – for the event.

Organizers said on June 14 that they plan to house spectators in “Bedouin style” tents in the desert.

“We will give the opportunity for fans to live in a desert,” al-Jaber said, adding that 200 tents will be luxurious, commanding “expensive” nightly fees.

Qatar has fewer than 30,000 hotel rooms, according to the most recent estimates by Qatar Tourism, and 80 percent of those rooms are currently allocated to FIFA’s guests, al-Jaber said.

FIFA will release rooms that teams, referees, media and other officials don’t need as the tournament draws closer, a spokesperson told Reuters.

Qatar has had to boost its non-hotel accommodation and two cruise ships moored in Doha port and shared villas and apartments will provide at least 69,000 rooms, most of them to be managed by Accor, Europe’s largest hotel operator.

There are also plans to install pre-fabricated fan-villages on empty plots, al-Jaber said.

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