Energized by the explosive growth in the Middle East air transport market, Qatar Airways has turned its attention to Scandinavia as it extends Boeing 787 services to Stockholm on August 1, to be followed a month later to both Copenhagen and Oslo.
Akbar Al Baker
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is upbeat on the market, having ordered nine Boeing 777-300ERs, valued at $2.8 billion (at list prices), of which seven are options. “When we say options, we always make them firm orders,” he said. “Options [simply] give us the flexibility of moving up delivery dates.”
Al Baker said the new aircraft would allow the airline to open new long-haul routes to the U.S. Two of the new jets will be delivered in early 2014.
Qatar Executive is investing in the development of a private jet terminal at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The opening of the new gateway for airline service has been delayed, following a failure to achieve the planned “soft opening” on April 1, but this appears not to be holding back plans to serve business aviation traffic there.
Qatar Airways’ private jet division, Qatar Executive, has received European Air Safety Agency Part 145 approval to provide maintenance and repair services for Bombardier business jets from its hub in Doha. Qatar Executive is already certified by Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority for similar work.
The only big-three Middle East airline player to have an executive jet operation, Qatar Executive is expanding its fleet, preparing for the opening of its FBO at New Doha International Airport in 2014, and increasing destination options for its customers.
The outspoken chief executive of Qatar Airways, an increasingly influential player in the world airline market, blamed the long-running battle over airline participation in Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) on the former leader of the association that represents world airlines.
Qatar Airways’s colorful CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has made a name for himself at the helm of one of the Arabian Gulf region’s trio of fast-growing airlines. But alongside his United Arab Emirates rivals Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways he can claim an additional string to his bow that the other two have so far overlooked: the creation of an executive jet division.
Qatar Airways has placed a follow-on order for six Boeing 777-300ERs, the companies announced yesterday at the show. Valued at $1.7 billion at list prices, the order brings to 40 the number of 777s Qatar has ordered since it signed its first contract for the Boeing widebodies in November 2007. Boeing recently delivered Qatar’s 25th 777.
In mid-2009, Qatar Airways received two 4,000-nmi-range Bombardier Challenger 605s and a Challenger 300 for new charter subsidiary Qatar Executive. The airline wants a piece of what it believes is still rising demand for on-demand, private charter services.
Qatar Airways (Stand C130) is again at the Dubai Airshow on Emirates Airlines’ home turf evidently to remind its rival that it can’t have this prosperous territory all to itself. Along with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, the Doha-based carrier has adopted a very high profile as it seeks to take a share of the market to provide long-haul connecting service through its Gulf hub.
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