Qatar Airways spreads its wings

March 28, 2013 | 14:57
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Qatar Airways, the national airline of Qatar, is one of the aviation industry’s big success stories.

Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, receives three Skytrax World Airline awards - including the coveted Airline of the Year 2012 - at the annual Farnborough Air Show in the UK

Its operations began in 1994 when the airline was a small regional carrier serving a handful of routes. The airline was  re-launched  in 1997  under the mandate of the country’s leader His Highness The Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who outlined a vision to turn Qatar Airways into a leading international airline  with the highest standards  of service and excellence.

Qatar Airways has since become one of the fastest growing carriers in the world with unprecedented expansion averaging double digit growth year on year that industry peers can only admire with envy.

The airline, which is 50 per cent government-owned and 50 per cent under the private sector, has developed under the leadership of Akbar Al Baker, appointed as CEO in 1996, who has been instrumental in turning Qatar Airways into an award-winning carrier and the best in the world.

Under Al Baker’s stewardship, Qatar Airways has matured into a leading force in regional and
global aviation, earning many admirers around the world for its excellent standards of service.

In April 2011, Qatar Airways reached a milestone reaching 100 destinations in its global route

Two months later, the airline achieved a remarkable feat, just 14 years after its relaunch,
being named Airline of the Year 2011 at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards with over 18
million travellers worldwide casting their votes.

In July 2012, Qatar Airways was once again named Airline of the Year 2012, holding onto its title for the second consecutive year.

In October 2011, Qatar Airways attained another key milestone by taking delivery of its 100th

During the Dubai Air Show in November 2011, Qatar Airways placed orders for 90 aircraft, comprising 80 of Airbus’ new A320 Neos, an additional eight A380 super jumbos and two Boeing 777 freighters.

Today, the award-winning airline has orders for over 250 aircraft worth more than S$50 billion.
Qatar Airways has also been elected to join Oneworld, with implementation into the global
alliance within 18 months from the October 2012 joining date.

Qatar Airways first 787 Dreamliner prepares to take off to Dubai

Global network and expansion

From Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha,  the country’s capital, the airline has developed a global network of over 120 destinations, covering Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Asia Pacific,
North America and South America with a modern fleet of over 110 passenger and cargo aircraft.

In March 2009, Qatar Airways launched the longest flight in its  global network – scheduled daily
services from Doha to Houston marking its third US destination – with a flying time of around 16
hours to make it one of the longest non-stop flights in the world.

During 2010, Qatar Airways launched  flights to  10 new destinations including  Bengaluru
(Bangalore), Tokyo, Ankara, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Phuket, Hanoi and Nice.

In 2011, another historic year for Qatar Airways saw the launch of flights to 15 destinations with expansion focusing  on Europe  –  Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels,  Stuttgart, Venice, Oslo and
Sofia. Other  new  routes included the Syrian city of Aleppo  –  the carrier’s milestone 100th destination  –  Shiraz (Iran), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Kolkata (Calcutta), Benghazi (Libya),
Entebbe (Uganda), Chongqing (China) and its entry to Canada with thrice-weekly flights to

For  2012, Qatar Airways  expands its operations to  further  destinations  –  Baku (Azerbaijan),
Tbilisi (Georgia),  Zagreb (Croatia), Perth (Australia), Kigali (Rwanda),  Kilimanjaro (Tanzania),
Yangon (Myanmar), Baghdad (Iraq),  Erbil (Iraq), Maputo (Mozambique),  Belgrade (Serbia)  and Warsaw (Poland).

For 2013, Qatar Airways has so far announced an expansion of its global footprint to serve
Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf  (Iraq),Phnom Penh (Cambodia),  Chicago, its fourth gateway in
the United States; Salalah (Oman) and Chengdu (China).

Young fleet

From only four aircraft in 1997, the airline grew to a fleet size of 28 aircraft by the end of 2003 and a milestone 50 by October 2006.

Today the airline operates over 110 aircraft to more than 120 destinations worldwide. By 2015, the fleet size will rise to more than 170 aircraft covering a global network of destinations.  

Qatar Airways has one of the industry’s youngest fleets with an average aircraft age under four years old.

The Qatar Airways family includes several different Airbus and Boeing aircraft types –
the long-range Boeing 777  passenger and freighter aircraft,  the new Boeing 787 with deliveries starting in November 2012,  Airbus A340, A330, A300, A300F  freighter, A321, A320 and A319.
The latter A319 includes a corporate jet version.

The company also operates corporate jets, including  Bombardier Challenger 605s, Bombardier
Global 5000s and a Global Express XRS, for its executive subsidiary Qatar Executive, launched
in 2009.

Qatar Airways currently has over 250  new  aircraft  worth more than $50 billion  pending delivery over the next few years. This includes orders for Airbus’ new generation A350s, A320
Neos, A380s and Boeing 787s.

Qatar Airways is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380-800 ‘super jumbo’ –
the world’s  biggest aircraft capable of carrying 555 passengers in a luxurious configuration.

Qatar Airways has ordered 13 A380s with a delivery schedule beginning in early 2014.

Premium terminal

In line with the company’s philosophy to be innovative, the airline operates the world’s only dedicated commercial passenger terminal  exclusively  for its First and  Business Class
passengers at Doha International Airport.

The $90 million Premium Terminal, built in just nine months, opened in November 2006. It
features facilities such as  sit-down  check-in for First and Business Class passengers, a spa,
Jacuzzi, duty free shopping, business centre, fine dining restaurants, delicatessen and a cocktail bar.

The innovative Premium Terminal facilities are designed to provide Qatar Airways’ most loyal
customers with the best levels of comfort and hospitality prior to catching their flight.

Open round-the-clock, 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, the stand-alone facility is seen as an industry benchmark in premium class travel experience.

Due to the rapid expansion of Qatar Airways, the Premium Terminal was expanded in 2009 to accommodate over 80 per cent additional seating space.

In early 2012, Qatar Airways opened its first airport lounge outside Qatar with a dedicated
Premium Lounge at London’s Heathrow Terminal 4, exclusively for Qatar Airways’ First and
Business Class passengers.

Global achievements

Qatar Airways is proud to have been named  Airline of the Year 2011  and 2012  in the annual
Skytrax World Airline Awards. Over 18 million travellers worldwide cast their votes in the survey
by the leading global airline industry audit.

Having been elevated to third best airline in the world by Skytrax in 2010, announcement of the
2011 results ranking Qatar Airways as Airline of the Year was a culmination of sheer dedication
and hard work by the airline’s workforce under  the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer
Akbar Al Baker. To retain the award in 2012 was a magnificent triumph.

Already ranked Five Star for service excellence by Skytrax, the independent  global  aviation industry monitoring agency  confirmed Qatar Airways  as  Best Airline in the Middle East  for the
sixth year  in a row  and  in 2012 for the second consecutive year  Best  Premium Service Airport for its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport  –  a facility for exclusive use by Qatar Airways’ First and Business Class passengers.


Qatar Airways was the first airline in the world to pass the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit with a maximum 100 per cent compliance in 2003 and passed the test again during the two-year renewal period in 2005, 2007, 2009, and in June 2011.

The audit was set up to standardise and rationalise a number of safety and security procedures
carried out by individual airlines for the purpose of code sharing. Qatar Airways was assessed
on flight and ground operations, aircraft engineering, maintenance, operational security, cabin
operations and management systems.

Design of the New Doha International Airport

New Doha International Airport

In order to cope with the airline’s growth strategy, more than $1 billion is being invested in
infrastructure improvements at Doha International Airport, Qatar Airways’ operational hub.  This
includes a new transit terminal, extension of the existing Premium Terminal for Qatar Airways’
First and Business Class passengers, new arrivals terminal, new terminal for foreign airlines and additional aircraft parking bays.

The New Doha International Airport, located four kilometres from the existing airport, is
scheduled to open  in  2013 at  a cost of $15.5 billion with an initial capacity of 28  million
passengers a year. Construction work began in January 2005.  

Once fully developed beyond 2015, the airport is expected to handle up to 50 million passengers a year. One of the project’s key features is that 60 per cent of the site is built on reclaimed land from the Arabian Gulf.

Qatar Airways will manage the new airport, designed to help shape Doha as a key regional and
global aviation hub.

Staring from 20th February 2013, Qatar Airways operates direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City via Doha hub to over 120 destinations worldwide with better connections to Europe, Africa, America and Middle East. The change expects to bring passengers convenience and satisfaction.

*Skytrax is the world's largest airline and airport review site, with Quality Ranking for Airlines and Airports across the world. Reader can search more information via   

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