DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar Airways said Thursday it earned a profit of $1.2 billion over the last fiscal year, boosted in part by the small Arabian Peninsula country’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar Airways, like other carriers in Gulf Arab nations, relies on the country’s location to ferry passengers between the East and West. Its earned revenue of $20.9 billion over the year is up from $14.4 billion the year before.
Those figures stand in contrast to the $4.1 billion loss it suffered in the 2021 fiscal year amid the coronavirus pandemic and the grounding of its fleet.
Qatar Airways’ profit of $1.2 billion is down slightly from $1.5 billion last fiscal year. Part of that came from a spike in operating expenses, particularly in jet fuels as energy prices rose after the grip of the pandemic loosened and air travel resumed. Qatar Airways received a $3 billion infusion from the government during the pandemic to keep it afloat.
“As the global travel industry continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we consolidated our position as the airline of choice for millions of passengers across the globe,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
The World Cup played a large role in Qatar Airways’ success as well, with FIFA saying some 3.4 million spectators were on hand inside stadiums for the tournament. Many flying in used Qatar Airways’ global network for their flights.
“Our country’s long-held dream of organizing the FIFA World Cup finally became a reality and Qatar took center stage for hosting the world’s most prestigious sporting event,” Al Baker said. “After more than a decade of preparations and hard work, we brought fans from around the world.”
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways in February also resolved a long-running acrimonious legal dispute over the Airbus A350, which the airline had alleged had fuselages “degrading at an accelerated rate” in the long-range aircraft.
European plane-maker Airbus then terminated a multibillion-dollar order by Qatar Airways for 50 of its smaller single-aisle in-demand A321neo jets.
In the annual report, Al Baker praised the “amicable agreement” with Airbus and the delivery of airplanes from the manufacturer, which “will enable the airline to address the additional fleet capacity needed to maintain our growth plans.”
Qatar Airways flies a fleet of 265 aircraft to nearly 160 destinations worldwide.