Al Baker was invited to deliver the main address at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM) Business Series Luncheon, where over 230 executives from the Montreal business community attended to hear him speak on the topic of Gulf States: Rising Business Opportunities.
The airline’s CEO provided an informative overview of the strong Canadian business links between the State of Qatar and Canada. He highlighted the massive ongoing infrastructure, construction and real estate projects in Qatar and discussed the growing presence of Canadian business in Qatar.
“Qatar is an avid supporter of the Canadian brand, and opportunities are boundless for Canadian businesses to contribute to the burgeoning infrastructure projects across a range of sectors, in addition to an industry which closely brings our countries together – oil and gas,” remarked Al Baker.
As a strong lever and enabler to the economic ties between both countries, Al Baker spoke about the significance of Qatar Airways’ Montreal services, the only Gulf carrier flying to the Canadian city.
A key component in his address was the praise of the airline’s successful Canadian operations, impressively performing and exceeding expectations in less than a year of being introduced.
“I want to thank Canada for such a warm welcome over the past 10 months. Travellers’ enthusiasm has surpassed our expectations. There are very strong links between our two countries, as well as common interests, both business and cultural, reinforcing those ties even further.
“Qatar Airways is looking forward to continue growing its operations in Canada, and providing the travelling public with greater access to an expansive route network covering the Middle East, Asia, Asia Pacific and Africa regions,” added Al Baker.
Drawing attention to the subject of bilateral traffic rights, his address mentioned the airline’s calls for additional landing rights in Canada, enabling it to expand operations to Montreal as well as other Canadian cities.
He supported his points with examples of the flourishing business landscape in Qatar and the growing number of Canadian businesses currently operating in Qatar, which reinforces the mutually beneficial opportunities that would arise from strengthening the air bridge between the two countries.
Qatar Airways operates three-times-weekly passenger services between Montreal and Doha.
Following the CORIM speaking opportunity, Al Baker also spoke with local media in Montreal to pursue the discussion further, as well as provide an update on Qatar Airways’ presence in Canada since the Montreal route launch last June.
The airline currently flies to 113 diverse leisure and business destinations worldwide and operates a modern fleet of 108 aircraft.
During 2011, Qatar Airways inducted 15 diverse destinations into its network. As part of its 2012 expansion programme, Qatar Airways recently launched flights to capital cities Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan and Rwanda in Kigali.
The airline has a further 11 new routes to launch during 2012, namely Perth (Australia), Zagreb (Croatia), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Belgrade (Serbia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Yangon (Myanmar), Mombasa (Kenya), Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).
Qatar Airways has orders worth over US$ 50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. The rapid expansion of Qatar Airways prompted the State of Qatar to embark on one of its biggest projects – the construction of a brand new international airport in Doha, which is scheduled to open in 2012.
In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 award during the summer, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best First Class Airline Lounge. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry.