Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced Qatar Airways as the host airline for the 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Transport Summit to be held in the Qatari capital Doha from June 1 – 3 next year.
The announcement was made today at the close of this year’s AGM in the South African city of Cape Town.
Over 700 aviation leaders drawn from airlines, aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and airports have been in South Africa to discuss and debate key industry issues such as rising fuel prices, safety, environment and financial stability.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who last year was voted onto the IATA Board of Governors, addressed the close of the Cape Town event after delegates were shown a glimpse of Qatar through a destination video.
“On behalf of Qatar Airways and my country the State of Qatar, bringing the IATA AGM to our capital city of Doha next year for the first time is a great honour,” he said.
“After a long 17-year gap, IATA is finally returning to the Middle East for their conference and I promise we won’t disappoint in their choice to bring this annual gathering of ours to my country. This is in recognition of the city and country fast emerging as a successful global aviation hub.”
IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said: “Qatar will be a fantastic location for the 70th IATA AGM. It is at the heart of the fast-growing and dynamic Middle East region. The government understands the power of aviation to drive economic growth and development.
“And the country’s approach to aviation is a beacon for our industry. I am confident that its flagship airline Qatar Airways will host the world’s aviation community with the tremendous style and warm hospitality for which it has become famous.”
Qatar Airways has been an IATA member since 1997. In 2004, it became the first airline to join the registry of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and has to date secured the audit consistently with 100 per cent compliance.
Added Al Baker: “In my capacity as a relative newcomer on the IATA Board of Governors, it has been a pleasure working with IATA on addressing the ongoing challenges we collectively face as an industry. I will continue my commitment and dedication to support IATA members in the region and globally as Qatar Airways continues to grow in its role as a leading international airline of choice.
“I look forward to inviting you to enjoy the fine hospitality of our airline and our nation. Qatar Airways and the State of Qatar work hand in hand to deliver world-class facilities, world-class amenities, being proud of our Arabic culture, spreading our tradition, generosity and warmth in today’s modern era we live in, to all corners of the world.
“Nowhere in the world will you see a city and country developing at such a dynamic rate thanks to the vision of His Highness, The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
“This is a great opportunity for Qatar as we look forward to aviation industry leaders witnessing the new infrastructural developments in the country, especially the state-of-the-art facilities at Hamad International Airport, the world’s newest airport gateway.
“Qatar Airways continues to develop as a global network carrier and by next year, we will have significantly expanded our reach even further with our alliance membership of oneworld,” he said.
The Doha-based airline, one of the fastest growing in the world, has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 124 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
Qatar Airways has so far launched six destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman) and Basra (Iraq) – the latter started on June 3.Over the next few weeks and months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 28) and Philadelphia, USA (2 April 2014).
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