Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week praised Qatar, and especially Qatar Airways, for their “tremendous efforts” to repatriate U.S. citizens stranded abroad by the coronavirus.
“On behalf of the United States government and the American people,” Pompeo wrote in the letter dated April 21, addressed to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, “I want to express our appreciation for Qatar Airways’ continued assistance in transporting U.S. citizens home from Qatar and other destinations around the world.
“We have heard from numerous U.S. citizens abroad about the tremendous efforts extended by Qatar Airways staff to get them home. Qatar Airways helped repatriate nearly 1 million people worldwide including tens of thousands of Americans. This should be seen as a point of national pride for all Qataris.”
Pompeo’s letter was released Thursday in a tweet by the U.S. Embassy in Doha.
According to industry publication Aerotime, Qatar actually increased both flights and capacity to help stranded citizens return to their homelands. Qatar, the national carrier of the Gulf state, assisted France, Germany, Britain and other countries repatriate their citizens as most airlines had cancelled international flights.
Qatar Airways services 160 cities globally and was rated last year as the world’s best airline at the World Airline Awards held annually at the Paris Air Show.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Aerotime that the airline’s goal was to “serve people who want to be with their loved ones in a very trying time.” Qatar Airways did not increase prices as flight availability became scarce.