With Qatar poised to become one of the major transit hubs in the Middle East region, Gulf Connoisseur had an exclusive interview with the dynamic CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker who briefed us on the new exciting developments
Renowned as one of the premium luxury global carriers in the world, Qatar airways has always set a benchmark in the fields of quality and excellence in the aviation industry. Ever since being appointed as the CEO of Qatar airways in 1997, Akbar Al Baker has been one of the key architects in the transformation of Qatar airways from a regional player to one of the leading global carriers in the region.
Just recently, Qatar Airways has launched six new destinations with additional launch services to new routes like Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Kenya and many more. It’s the first airline in the Middle East to acquire the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which is expected to set new standards in air travel and will revolutionize the passenger’s travel experience.
The design of the aircraft will include features such as cabin pressure 2000 feet closer to the ground level, better air purification system and dynamic mood lighting that ensure customers will arrive at their destination feeling less fatigued and more refreshed. GSM telephony options allow travellers to be in touch with the ground at all times and all passenger seats will be equipped with USB, MP3 and other charger ports
One of the special aspects, Al Baker stresses is that “The 787 is quieter than other aircraft allowing passengers to work, sleep or relax in peace.”
He also adds that the Boeing 787 will initially operate on intra-Gulf routes and then later enter into the Doha London Heathrow route. The New Doha International Airport (NDIA), Phase One world be completed by 2012 and would handle an initial capacity of 28 million passengers a year. The NDIA sits on a 2,200-hectare site and both runways have been completed. Baker says.
He further adds that “Phase One will cost over US$15.5 billion on the opening day, so it is a major investment in the future of Qatar’s aviation industry, and the nation’s economy as a whole.”
The NDIA will incorporate 41 wide body aircraft contact gates, together with over 40,000 square metres of space devoted to retail facilities, passenger lounges, and multi-story short-term and long-term parking. Baker confirms that the other features will include a new Emiri (royal) Terminal complex for VIP flights with additional hardstands, cargo terminal buildings, aircraft hangars and associated airline and airport ancillary features. The complex will include an airport hotel and a 100-room transit hotel within the terminal for the convenience of transfer passengers, and much more.
Speaking on how NDIA will stand out from its competitors, Baker states that the NDIA would be the world’s first airport to accommodate unrestricted operations by all commercial aircrafts. An Aircraft Maintenance Centre with a hangar that can accommodate up to 13 aircraft of different types at any one time will be a special feature.
Qatar remains one of the main tourist destinations in the region, says Baker, “It is internationally recognised for its many sporting and conference venues and Five Star hotels, many of which boast luxurious and extensive spa facilities. Qatar Tourism Authority is investing heavily in tourism infrastructure development over the next 10 years as the country prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.” J