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Qatar Airways CEO Speaks At Key Global Travel Summit In India

Doha, QATAR – The future of the global travel industry will come under the spotlight in India this weekend when decision makers converge for the annual gathering of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The 5th Global Travel and Tourism Summit, organised by the WTTC, will bring together high-profile Chief Executives, Managing Directors and Chairmen of leading travel companies from around the world to New Delhi.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer and Qatar Tourism Authority Chairman Akbar Al Baker will be among the panelists during debates at the three-day summit being held in the city’s Ashoka Hotel between April 8-10, 2005.

The summit is also an opportunity for the industry’s most influential people to network with their peers from both the public and private sector.

The main theme of the conference will be ‘Realising the Potential’ in which discussions will centre on removing barriers to competition, creating prosperity and empowering people to understand the full potential of the travel and tourism industry.

In a series of highly interactive discussions and keynote presentations, leading government, industry and media players will focus on the need for the sector to realise its full potential for social and economic good.

The summit will be opened by the Honourable President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam.

Ahead of his visit to India, Al Baker said the summit presented an opportunity for some of the world’s leading travel industry figures from the aviation, hotel, tourism, travel agency and tour operator sectors, to get together and debate issues that affect their businesses.

“Less than 12 months ago, Qatar Airways was privileged to host the WTTC summit here in Doha,” said Al Baker.

“India is one of the world’s top-selling holiday destinations and how appropriate it is for the industry to gather and discuss key national, regional and global trends in a country which is enjoying economic prosperity.”

Added Al Baker who will speak in a session, Power to Debate: “A healthy international travel and tourism industry relies heavily on a strong airline infrastructure as a vehicle to fly business travellers and holidaymakers around the world.

“Many people however in the corridors of power underestimate the importance of an airline’s role in today’s burgeoning travel and tourism industry.

“Regulation is a big obstacle in the aviation industry where many airlines are prevented from operating new routes and adding capacity which simply stifles competition.

“Compared with many other industries, aviation lags behind, with antiquated bilateral systems that govern capacity simply to serve as a protectionist policy for national airlines that does nothing but hinder competition.”

“I sincerely hope this conference helps address some of the problems we in the airline industry face.”

Al Baker will also speak at a session, Latest Innovations, which will focus on how entrepreneurs introduce new products and services to attract and retain business.

Other speakers at the conference include Renuka Chowdhury, Indian Minister of Tourism, Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Giovanni Angelini, CEO and Managing Director of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Stelios, Haji-Ioannou, Founder and Chairman of easyGroup and PRS Oberoi, Chairman of the Oberoi Group.

Award-winning Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world operating a modern all-Airbus fleet of 39 aircraft, which will double in size over the next few years following a $5.1bn order for 34 additional Airbus jets. The airline is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order, scheduled for delivery from 2009.

The airline operates to 60 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Indian sub-continent and the Far East from its operational hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf.

The World Travel and Tourism Council is a forum for global business leaders, representing 100 of the most important travel and tourism companies in the world, including major airlines, tour operators, and hotel chains. It is the only body representing the private sector in all parts of the travel and tourism industry worldwide.

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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