SINGAPORE - Front-line healthcare workers around the world, including those in Singapore, can now apply for free return tickets from Qatar Airways till next Monday (May 18).
A total of 100,000 tickets will be given out, with about 14,000 tickets released at 5.01am Singapore time daily. Countries are given an unspecified number of tickets based on their population size.
The allocation of tickets is on a first-come-first-served basis. Each worker can apply for two tickets to anywhere that Qatar Airways flies to.
Qatar Airways said eligible healthcare workers comprise those working as doctors, medical practitioners, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and clinical researchers.
The airline's group chief executive officer, Mr Akbar Al Baker, told The Straits Times that the move was to thank healthcare workers for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Their heroic display of kindness, dedication and professionalism have saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, while at the same time exposing themselves to the danger of this very deadly virus," said Mr Al Baker.
He said the initiative will cost "a lot of money" but declined to reveal the exact cost.
The airline said it has received almost one million applications so far for the 28,000 tickets that have been released since Tuesday (May 12).
Successful applicants will receive a promotion code that can be used to book up to two economy-class tickets. They will have to redeem these codes before Nov 26 for trips ending on Dec 10.
The airline said it is looking to extend the validity of the tickets in the light of some healthcare workers having their leave frozen during the coronavirus outbreak.
The workers can apply for the tickets at the website.