How do you feel about receiving your first Airbus A380-800 in June 2014?
We are really excited at induction of this state of art Airbus 380-800 into our fleet in June 2014. We have initially placed an order of 13 planes of this configuration. This aircraft is the largest passenger jet in the world featuring a tri-class configuration of seating in First, Business and Economy, over two decks with a superior experience to customers.
Comment on your expansion plans?
The current order book contains 80 state of art A350 and 13 A 380-800. Post delivery of A 380-800 in June, we will operate from Doha to Heathrow airport. With an increase in capacity by 50% in 2014, we will fly to new destinations such as Sharjah, Philadelphia, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Miami and Istanbul. The frequency has been increased to existing and new international destinations. We are the first Gulf carrier to enter Florida Market.
How will you rate yourself amongst other airlines operating from the Gulf Region?
Gulf carriers are raising the bar. Qatar Airways is not a follower but a leader and the first airlines to start horizontal seats after British airways. We have a modern fleet of 134 aircrafts to 138 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, East Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. It is also the first airlines to have lounge on the board. At the end of day, I pack the maximum number of passengers and comfort to customers and give them value for money with world class and 5 star facilities. Qatar airways is also the first Airbus customer to receive the newly launched Airbus A350 long range, twin engine, wide bodied jet. This new airliner represents latest features such as optimised fuel consumption, lower operating costs and increased environmental efficiencies.
What is the slogan for Qatar airways?
I don’t believe in slogans and only delivering the value. My message to clients “Qatar airways at your services and always for you. ”
How many of Boeing 787 dreamliner are in your fleet?
We have 11 Boeing 787 that are operational. We have a focused maintenance team. We are here to make perfect return on investment. We have a low demand in the First Class. Private companies are cutting on cost on Executive travel. It is a First class product. As compared to British airways, load factor is high in Qatar airways but they have high demand for First class travel despite low load factor.
What is the impact of opening of HIA (Hamad International Airport)?
The design capacity of the new international airport (HIA) is 30 million passengers as it is the largest construction project in Qatar spread in a area of 24 square kilometres. I am confident that it will give huge impetus to aviation industry which is passenger friendly. Qatar lost its No 1 tag in 2013 because of airport and not because of airlines. Now we are ready for FIFA 2022 with our world class infrastructure and airport capacity that can be augmented to 45-50 million passengers at HIA.
Regarding the new airport, how do you expect your future growth?
Our growth was blocked by the capacity of new airport (HIA). Expansion also depends on how aircrafts are delivered on time. Opening of a new terminal will help Qatar to increase its world class services as the demand will rise in future.
What are your chief concerns and plans?
We need a better air space management. We are a government entity and efficiency is our core motto. We are a profit making organisation while the other airlines are bleeding. It is the ‘Year of Fleet’ for Qatar airways as the airlines has plans to expand its fleet with 300 additional aircraft worth more than USD $60 billion including, 80 Airbus A 350, 13 Airbus A 330 Freighters, 60 Boeing 787, 13 Boeing 777, 50 Boeing 777 x, 80 Airbus A 320 Neos and 13 Airbus A 380-800. We are also planning to launch new airline ‘Al Maha” in November with 10 A320 aircraft which will have domestic operations within Saudi Arabia. Over the next few months we plan to grow our network to Saudi Arabia, turkey, Scotland, Miami, Haneda, Dallas and Djibouti.
We want to have closer integration with British airways and also want to share similar relations with Cathay Pacific through a joint venture (JV).
What is your outlook for Indian aviation industry?
We would be interested in buying Indigo if their shareholders agree. India is doing great in terms of good airports and is a good market for budget carriers.