Qatar Airways flies fully vaccinated ‘flight to nowhere’

Cathy Adams
·1-min read

As pressure builds on the travel industry to restart, Qatar Airways has flown the world’s first fully vaccinated “flight to nowhere”.

Flight QR6421 departed Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 11am on 6 April, and landed back at the same airport three hours later.

Data from tracking website FlightRadar24 shows the plane taking off from Doha, flying across the United Arab Emirates and down the length of Oman before turning back.

It was staffed by fully vaccinated crew at all points: from check-in to the flight crew onboard. Only vaccinated passengers were allowed onboard, Qatar Airways said.

The special flight, flown by A350 aircraft, was designed to showcase the safety measures the Gulf super-connector has put in place.

Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said that the flight “demonstrates the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far away”.

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“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.

“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.”

Fellow “Gulfies” have been busily vaccinating their crew in anticipation of global travel demand picking up again.

In February, Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad said it had fully vaccinated all its crew with Sinopharm, a Chinese vaccine.

Qatar is currently on the UK’s “red list”, travel from which triggers 11 nights of hotel quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per person.