Doha, QATAR – Doha International Airport has won key honours at the inaugural Middle East And North Africa airport awards supported by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry research house.
Named for having the Best Airport Airline partnership in the region, Doha International Airport beat off stiff competition from its regional neighbours to earn the accolade.
The award, presented to Doha International Airport and Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker by Skytrax managing director Edward Plaisted, recognised the airport’s achievements in working effectively with regional and global airlines.
The ceremony was held during the inaugural two-day Airport Expansion Middle East Conference hosted by Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority in Doha this week.
Al Baker said the award clearly demonstrated that airlines and airports needed to work together to maximise business opportunities for each other for the benefit of travellers.
In a keynote presentation later on the ‘Effectiveness of Airport and Airline Partnerships’, he said that strong strategic partnerships between airport operators and airline users were vital for long-term planning and efficient delivery of service levels to the ultimate user – the consumer.
Cooperation, he said, meant working towards a unified approach, stressing neither airlines nor airports could survive without each other. He said the key to economic growth was building a strong airport and airline infrastructure to facilitate inward and outward trade and investment and give the travelling public greater choice.
Earlier, Al Baker called for a more unified approach among Arab nations towards a true open skies environment giving airlines freer access to each other’s markets for the benefit of consumers.
Speaking on a panel discussion ‘Open Skies’ with regional aviation industry officials, he advocated the need for true open skies across the entire region.
He said true open skies required a unified approach by countries across the region which, he said, would benefit the entire Middle East, and help meet the demands of huge air traffic forecasts within the region and, to and from the region. More freedom for airlines to fly routes with no restrictions would lead to greater and, more importantly, healthier competition, added Al Baker.
Doha International Airport, which currently handles more than 12 million passengers a year, has undergone a dramatic change over the past three years, virtually doubling in size to cope with the huge demand for air travel to and from Qatar, which has been spearheaded by the huge infrastructure improvements taking place in the country. In 2007, Doha International Airport was honoured with the Best Passenger Handling Airport of the Year award at the Aviation Business Awards, held in Dubai.
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
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