SWOT analysis of Qatar Airways (Qatar Airways SWOT)
The aim of this detailed SWOT analysis of Qatar Airways (Qatar Airways SWOT) is to examine the internal and the external environments of Qatar Airways. It aims to examine the strengths and the weaknesses of the airline. It also aims to examine the opportunities it should consider exploring and the likely threats it should keep a close eye on.
Strengths of Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing and youngest global airlines that serves all six continents. It flies to more than 160 destinations every day and has a fleet of modern and fuel efficient aircraft that ensures low operating costs. The hub of the airline is Hamad International Airport at Doha in Qatar which is a Five-star airport. The airline was founded in 1997 (Qatar Airways, 2021). It is wholly owned by the government of Qatar.
Awards and accolades
Qatar Airways has received a number of awards and accolades over the years. For instance, it received ‘World’s Best Business Class, ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, and ‘World’s Best First-Class Airline Lounge’ awards by Skytrax in 2017. In 2019, it was ranked 5th and 2nd in the World’s Best First-Class Airlines 2019, and the Best First-Class Airline Lounges 2019 respectively (Skytrax, 2021). It also received ‘Best Airline’ award by UK Business Travellers Awards, and ‘Best Airline for International First Class’ by Global Traveller Tested Reader Survey Awards in 2017.
Qatar Airways earned a number of awards in 2018 as well notably ‘World’s Best Business Class’ award by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards and ‘Best Food and Beverage: Middle East’ award by Airline Passenger Experience Association.
On-board services distinguish Qatar Airways from other airlines. Whether it is a business class, first class or economy class, the airline offers its passengers some of the best services available in the airline industry. For example, Economy class passengers can browse the same extensive range of in-flight entertainment options (up to 3000) as business- and first-class fliers (Smith, 2017).
Qatar Airways is taking culinary boundaries to a ‘new age of airline dining’ for all passengers, and interestingly, First-class passengers can even enjoy a romantic dinner for two. Seats in the Economy class are wider than those offered by other airlines, while some of the Qatar business class seats can be turned into flat beds as well.
Weakness of Qatar Airways
A number of controversies have affected Qatar Airways since its inception. Many analysts and International Labour Organisation have criticized Qatar Airways for some of its staffing policies. For example, the airline used to sack cabin crew if they became pregnant or got married within the first five years of employment. However, it is worth mentioning that Qatar Airways relaxed the policy in 2015 allowing cabin crew to get married.
The airline has also been criticised for the alleged subsidies it received from the government of Qatar, even though it has always denied such financial supports.
Over-reliance on international markets
Qatar Airways heavily relies on its international markets. This over-reliance may prove extremely costly when there is a major change in the macro-environments of the international markets. Unsurprisingly, the year 2020 has not been that great because of global lockdowns.
Opportunities for Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is one of the youngest airlines in the world. It has great potentials to grow globally. Opening new routes and increasing frequencies into the Indian Sub-content, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia will certainly help the airline increase its global market share.
There are some other opportunities that Qatar Airways can pursue. For example, strategic alliance and acquisitions of other airlines will help the airline grow further. It is worth mentioning that Qatar Airways already has stakes in a number of airlines and airports around the world.
Threats to Qatar Airways
Threat is the last element to address in the SWOT analysis of Qatar Airways. Threats may emanate from a number of sources. For instance, geo-political crisis is a great threat to Qatar Airways. Political instability in the Middle East and Saudi-led blockade of Qatar’s land, sea and air borders with Qatar were two major threats to Qatar Airways in the last few years (Turak, 2018).
Qatar Airways faces a fierce competition from two regional rivals i.e. Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. There are many other global airlines which compete with Qatar Airways in many of its routes.
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Last update: 19 January 2021
Qatar Airways (2021) About Qatar Airways, available at: https://www.qatarairways.com/en-gb/about-qatar-airways.html (Accessed 19 January 2021)
Skytrax (2021) World’s Best First Class Airlines 2019, available at: https://www.worldairlineawards.com/worlds-best-first-class-airlines-2019/ (accessed 19 January 2021)
Smith, O. (2017) This is what the world’s best airline looks like (BA, take note), available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/advice/qatar-airways-best-airline-in-the-world/ (Accessed 01 May 2018)
Turak, N. (2018) Qatar Airways targets expansion strategy to ‘defeat’ regional blockade, available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/20/qatar-airways-targets-expansion-strategy-to-defeat-regional-blockade.html (Accessed 01 May 2018)
Photo credit: The Daily Telegraph
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.