Qatar Airways to expand fleet with 11 new planes this year
- A Monitor Report 25 Apr, 2018 | 1550 Views|-+
Akbar Al Baker (second left), Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways, handing over a memento to H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, during the IATA conference at Sheraton Doha
DOHA: Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker announced on April 24 that the airline will add 11 new planes to its fleet this year as it prepares to launch 16 new destinations in 2018 and 2019.
He said that the national carrier, which is preparing to announce its financial results in June, remains strong despite the siege imposed on Qatar. It continues to expand and invest in new markets, adds new aircraft, and employs more workers.
Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the 31st edition of IATA Ground Handling Services Conference yesterday, Al Baker announced that the ground handling subsidiary of Qatar Airways, Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) will begin international expansion in 2018.
Minister of Transport and Communications, H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, said hosting of IATA Ground Handling Conference, which is being organised for the first time in the Middle East, is a demonstration of confidence in Qatar Airways and Qatar.
The high-profile conference, being hosted at Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, is witnessing participation of more than 700 international delegates and guests from more than a dozen countries.
Addressing media-persons, Al Baker said expanding QAS’ operations internationally will enhance Qatar Airways’ rapid growth pans, as well as provide other airlines and airports access to QAS’ capabilities and the profit and performance improvements that it deliver to its customers.
“The decision to launch QAS internationally is a logical business decision. Our Ground Services division has contracts with ground handlers across our extensive global network of more than 150 global destinations measuring their key performance indicators, and QAS is without doubt a global leader in this area,”said Al Baker.
Qatar Airways Company achieved 99.5 percent of the ground handling accuracy in 2017, providing services to international airlines, private fleets as well as air cargo and other services, he added.
Al Baker pointed out that the company, which employs about 7,500 people from 54 countries, delivered 47 million pieces of goods to become one of the least delayed in delivery of luggage in this sector with a rate of 0.6 per thousand passengers.
More than two million tonnes of cargo were delivered last year at an annual increase rate of 25 percent through Hamad International Airport (HIA), which served 36 million passengers and handled more than 222,000 flights in 2017.
“It is significant that our plans for international expansion were announced at the IGHC, since we have a long-term relationship with IATA. The QAS management team holds key positions on the IATA technical working groups, proposing and implementing developments that improve standards across the aviation industry,” he said. “By being the best in a high-tech, high-traffic, and high-growth environment, we provide innovative solutions for our customers that they don’t have access to through other ground handling agents,” Al Baker said.
The Qatar Airways Group chief executive noted that the company, which proved successful at the level of HIA, may look to expand in other international airports, one of which could be Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, but did not specify whether a final decision has been taken in this regard so far.
He said Qatar Airways plans a host of new destination launches this year, including London Gatwick and Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum and Antalya, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece and Málaga, Spain.