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Qatar Airways At IATA Annual Meeting

Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Mr. Akbar Al Baker participated in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) 60th annual meeting, held in Singapore in early June. The meeting brought together some 700 CEOs and senior executives of all major airlines in Singapore to discuss the airline industry’s most pressing concerns.

Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “The meeting was extremely positive and successful, and touched upon all the issues that are of concern to the airline industry today.

“In panel discussions the chief executives of all the major airlines had a chance to voice their ideas and concerns, and throughout the three-day conference, many new ideas were pursued in depth, leading to useful new paths for the whole industry.

“One of the major outcomes of the IATA annual meeting was that Qatar Airways together with the other airlines agreed that e-ticketing is the way forward for air travel. The airline industry committed itself to a 100 per cent implementation of e-ticketing by the year 2007.

“We agreed to reduce the tedious paperwork, and make serious moves toward offering our passengers the chance to book online and simply travel with a form of identification rather than having to carry numerous ticket stubs. This will not only reduce costs for the airlines, but also improve customer service.

“Within a few months, passengers choosing to fly with Qatar Airways will be able to check reservations and book their flights conveniently through our website, and soon we will be able to offer the e-ticket facilities as well.

“The airline leaders also discussed the challenge of rising fuel-prices, of serious concern to all worldwide airlines, and how to go about overcoming this challenge. It is a worry that the highest-ever crude oil prices will dash the hope of profit for most airlines this year and solutions will have to be found.

“With Qatar Airways being one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, one of our main concerns are the restrictions that are currently governing the skies. Inflexibility of governments is one of the most limiting factors to the airline industry and restricts our potential growth severely. Global air travel is expected to grow by five per cent this year, but could possibly increase further if we had more open-skies policies.

“During the IATA meeting, all airlines called for greater cooperation between the airlines themselves and the governmental authorities. The current need for numerous bilateral air services agreements not only hinders the growth of an airline, but also deprives countries of all the potential good that comes from increased air travel, such as tourism, business investments and the influx of potential revenue.

“The increasing presence of low-cost carriers were discussed, but not necessarily deemed to be a threat to the industry but as a sector of the industry that aims at a different market than other airlines, such as Qatar Airways. Overall, there is a need to make the air industry into a low-cost industry and streamline operations and processes to make air travel more affordable to travellers and at the same time more profitable for the airlines themselves, “ Mr Al Baker said.

IATA brings together some 270 airlines, including the world's largest carriers. Flights by these airlines comprise more than 98 percent of all international scheduled air traffic. IATA is an association that was set up to allow airlines to work more efficiently together and acts as a link between the airline industry and third parties, also using its collective voice to reach governments.

In September 2003 Qatar Airways was the first airline in the world to pass the new International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), passing with 100 per cent compliance.

Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com


Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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