Author

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Pratap John
Pratap John
Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. He has mainstream media experience of nearly 30 years in specialties such as energy, business & finance, banking, telecom and aviation, and covered many major events across the globe.
Gulf Times
Business
Qatar's nominal GDP set to scale up to $227bn this year, nearly $229bn in 2024: Emirates NBD

Qatar's nominal GDP is set to scale up to $227bn this year and nearly $229bn in 2024, Emirates NBD has said in a forecast.The country’s real GDP growth has been forecast at 2.7% this year and 3% in 2024.Qatar's current account as a percentage of GDP has been forecast at 29.8% in 2023 and 28.4% in 2024. Budget balance as a percentage of GDP has been forecast at 5.6% in 2023 and 6% in 2024.Consumer price inflation (CPI) has been forecast at 3% this year and 2.5% in 2024, Emirates NBD said.Developments in the banking sectors in the US and Europe have increased uncertainty about the outlook for rates, with markets now significantly more dovish than at the start of the year, and central banks holding the line with rate hikes in March. With inflation still well above target across developed markets, there are likely still more hikes to come, provided the financial sector stability issues are addressed and contained.The current squall in financial markets has hit oil markets hard, and although Emirates NBD believes the fundamentals remain constructive, the bank have revised our annual price forecast lower to $88 on Brent crude prices from $105 previously.This will have implications for GCC budgets, as oil remains a key contributor to government revenues in the region.“We now expect Saudi Arabia to run a largely balanced budget this year, and the UAE’s projected surplus will likely be smaller than last year’s 10.5% of GDP. However, the outlook for growth in the region remains unchanged for now, as we had not expected a meaningful increase in oil output this year coming into 2023,” Emirates NBD said.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar delivers 12 more LNG cargoes in January, February compared to same period in 2022: GECF

Qatar delivered 12 more LNG cargoes in the first two months of 2023 compared to same period in 2022, according to Doha-based Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).The number of LNG shipments in the first two months of 2023 reached 1,047, up 4% (or 41 more) than during the same period in 2022, GECF said in its latest monthly report.In February 2023, the LNG spot charter rate for steam turbine carriers averaged $34,600 per day, which was 36% lower month-on-month (m-o-m), but 111% higher year-on-year (y-o-y).Spot charter rates usually observe a seasonal increase at the end of the year, as demand for LNG grows for the upcoming winter. In 2022, the same factors were at play, coupled with further tightness in the market due to European buyers purchasing cargoes as floating storage, resulting in extremely elevated charter rates, GECF said.“As the winter season commenced, these floating cargoes began to be discharged, freeing up carriers and reducing spot charter rates. Additionally, the mild winter conditions helped to ease gas demand somewhat, contributing to fewer inter- basin flows, and thus charter rates softening even further, from January into February,” GECF noted.The average price of the leading shipping fuels in February 2023 was $610 per tonne, which was unchanged from the previous month, and 14% lower y-o-y.The impact of decreases in LNG spot charter rates and delivered spot LNG prices, resulted in a net decrease in the LNG shipping cost, by up to $0.53/MMBtu compared with the previous month, it said.When compared with the same month one year ago, in February 2023 charter rates were greater, but fuel prices and delivered spot LNG prices were lower than in 2022, resulting in LNG shipping costs up to $0.33/MMBtu lower.In February, 1.47 Mtpa of liquefaction capacity were impacted by planned an unplanned outages, which was down from 2.03 Mtpa of liquefaction capacity that were impacted in February, GECF noted.At a project level, the Freeport LNG facility in the US was impacted by the unplanned outage in February, while the Skikda LNG facility in Algeria was undergoing planned maintenance activities. Meanwhile, the force majeure on feedgas supply to the liquefaction facility in Nigeria, which was declared in January, remained in effect in February as well, GECF said.

Passengers board an airplane at Tijuana International Airport in Mexico (file). Any flight that takes place almost empty is bad for the environment and bad for airline finances. But precisely for these reasons, airlines don’t operate ghost flights without cause.
Business
'Empty flights' gain attention as aviation’s environmental footprint under scrutiny

Consider a flight that operates on less than 10% passenger capacity! In an industry that is hard pressed for funds, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic decimated air travel, it is something very difficult to comprehend.But a recent report in the UK’s Guardian newspaper said that 5,000 “empty”, and 35,000 flights with less than 10% occupancy, had flown in the United Kingdom since 2019!Termed by some as “ghost flights”, they are generally considered to be aircraft that operate on less than 10% passenger capacity, according to the International Air Transport Association.The UK story had “significant flaws”, however, IATA noted.Firstly, this period covered the pandemic, which was completely unrepresentative of a normal air transport market.Secondly, no context was given around the numbers. 40,000 sounds a lot, but in the context of the 4,566,382 flights that took place in the United Kingdom over that period — even during the unprecedented Covid-19 collapse in traffic — that comprises less than 1% of all flights.Of course, any flight that takes place almost empty is bad for the environment and bad for airline finances. But precisely for these reasons, airlines don’t operate ghost flights without cause.The analysis in the Guardian failed to explain that many of these flights were cargo flights, carrying vital supplies, including vaccines and personal protective equipment, during the pandemic. The cargo demand and humanitarian need justified the operation of certain flights, even with low passenger load factors.Similarly, there were a number of repatriation flights, or flights where passenger numbers were deliberately restricted to comply with Covid regulations set by governments.Additionally, there are always some flights to move aircraft to maintenance facilities or, as was the case during the pandemic, fly a significant number into storage.Flights to protect slots?Were any of these flights simply slot blocking? The 80-20 ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ rule was obviously not designed to work during a 95% collapse in demand, and the slot rules were cited as a potential cause of some flights having to operate unnecessarily in Europe.But this was not the case in the United Kingdom, where the slot rules were suspended, IATA noted in a recent analysis.There was a risk that some unnecessary flights could happen in the EU because the European Commission was too quick to restore higher slot use rates. However, for the most part during the pandemic, the slot rules were just about flexible enough that ghost flights were not a major issue.IATA Director General Willie Walsh said: “I’m not aware of any airline company that I have worked with deliberately operating an empty flight simply to maintain a slot.”The ghost flights non-story has, however, raised important questions that need to be answered on slot allocation rules. The European Union is looking again at its Slot Regulation, with a consultation in place leading to a potential revision of the rules in 2023.Although the revision is focusing on wider issues of competition, accessibility, and capacity, the role of slot rules in promoting greener flying is also in the mix. In addition to international efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions, the European Union has instigated its own initiatives through the EU Green Deal.Some politicians erroneously believe the slot system is creating ghost flights or that the slot process should be used as part of the Green Deal to prioritise the use of quieter or more fuel-efficient aircraft.Aviation is committed to exploring a multitude of options for reaching net-zero CO2, but airlines are united in their view that slot allocation decisions linked to the environment will not help the industry achieve its global sustainability objectives.“The pandemic was an exceptional period and extrapolating lessons or making policy changes based on the industry’s activities during this time would be a huge category error,” says Lara Maughan, IATA’s head (Worldwide Airport Slots). “Fiddling with the slot process to try to promote greener flying sounds positive in theory, but in practice it would make the slot process even more complicated while having minimal environmental gain. Trying to micro-manage slots may even have a detrimental environmental impact.”Part of the reason for this is the globally co-ordinated nature of the slot system. Airlines operating between two slot-coordinated airports must be able to work to a harmonised system of rules to best match demand with their planned schedule.If one country’s rules insist on operating the slot with a certain aircraft (for example for environmental reasons), then the airline may have to prioritise a non-optimal plane for that route, regardless of volume of demand—for example a narrowbody plane over a widebody.This, IATA said will affect consumer access and choice, and potentially impact another route that would have benefited from that aircraft choice.Any attempt to micro-manage the process at a handful of global, slot-constrained airports will only displace aircraft elsewhere, making no overall improvement to emissions and negatively affecting the benefits of aviation connectivity for travellers and the economy.Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. Twitter handle: @PratapJohn

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar's physicians, nurses density surpasses developed nations: Alpen Capital

The density of physicians (including dentists) and nurses in Qatar “stands among the highest” in the GCC while also surpassing developed nations such as Singapore, Alpen Capital said in a report.Qatar had more than 3.4 physicians and approximately 8.1 nurses per 1,000 people as of 2019, Alpena Capital noted.The public sector accounted for 63.8% of the physicians and 74.2% of the nurses’ population in 2019.As of 2020, Qatar had 20 hospitals with the public sector accounting for 70% of the infrastructure. The total number of hospital beds in the country stood at over 3,134 beds in 2019, recording a CAGR of 4.5% since 2016.The public sector hospitals also held a higher bed capacity, accounting for 88.2% as of 2019.Bed density has improved from 1.0 beds per 1,000 people in 2016 to 1.1 beds per 1,000 people in 2019.Healthcare continues to be a priority for Qatar and the government has been constantly upgrading the quality of its healthcare infrastructure and services through reform initiatives, Alpen Capital said in its report on ‘GCC healthcare industry’.The country’s National Health Strategy (2018-2022) within its Vision 2030 Plan identified some 12 areas of focus including development of integrated health systems, and coverage of preventive and curative healthcare among others to deliver improved health outcomes.As part of its Healthcare Facilities Master Plan, the report noted the government aims to deliver some 48 new facilities such as primary healthcare centres, diagnostic and treatment centres, while also focusing on hospital expansions and building general and specialised hospitals.Despite the slowdown in economy, Qatar’s government increased its budget towards healthcare in 2021 and 2022 accounting for 8.5% and 9.8% of the total, respectively, to expand its infrastructureand increase focus towards quality services.The country’s growing population base, high disposable income, rising life expectancy, low infant mortality, and increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases have led to an increase in the demand for healthcare services.Qatar’s current healthcare expenditure (CHE) grew at a CAGR of 2.0% between 2016 and 2020 to reach $6bn.Growth was largely supported by a 6.9% annualised increase in spending by the private sector while government spending has remained relatively flat (0.8% CAGR) over the four-year period.Of the total healthcare spend in 2020, 79.1% ($4.8bn) wasfinanced by the government. Amid rising participation from private sector, the share of government expenditure in Qatar has fallen from 82.7% in 2016 to 79.1% in 2020.Although the country’s CHE as a proportion of GDP has increased to 4.2% in 2020 from 3.7% in 2016, it remains amongst the lowest in the GCC.Being one of the wealthiest nations globally, Qatar recorded the highest per capita healthcare spending at $2,250.8 in 2020 in the GCC, Alpen Capital noted.According to Alpen Capital, CHE in the GCC is estimated to have grown at a CAGR of 9.5% between 2020 and 2022 to reach $104.1bn.The two-year period, when the healthcare sector was primarily combating the pandemic, recorded a high growth in inpatient and outpatient levels. Healthcare expenditure in the GCC is further projected to reach $135.5bn in 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2022.

Qatari banks have been resilient, and are well capitalised and profitable, with low levels of non-performing loans, according to Oxford Economics.
Business
Rate cuts not expected in Qatar before 2024: Oxford Economics

Rate cuts are not expected in Qatar before 2024, Oxford Economics said and noted that with inflationary pressures easing, country’s monetary authorities will be hesitant to tighten policy further.The Qatar Central Bank opted to keep interest rates on hold in February, skipping the hike delivered by the US Federal Reserve for the first time this cycle, Oxford Economics said in its latest country report.The bank has previously matched the Fed's moves since March 2022, most recently raising the repo rate by 50bps to 5.25% in December.While the hikes have had a limited impact on growth so far, due to supportive energy and fiscal trends, the rise in borrowing costs will challenge non-oil growth in 2023.Qatari banks, Oxford Economics noted, have been resilient and are well capitalised and profitable, with low levels of non-performing loans.However, their reliance on foreign funding has risen, and Fitch downgraded some bank ratings earlier this year.Inflation registered a monthly drop of 1.8%, the biggest in the current series, dragging annual inflation down to 4.2% in January from 5.9% in December last year.Prices declined across most categories, with the cost of recreational and cultural services plunging by almost 13% month-on-month.Although a rise in housing and transport prices limited the overall decline, prices have eased substantially.Consequently, Oxford Economics cut its 2023 CPI projection by 0.9ppts, to 2.3%. Due to higher prices in main export commodities, Qatar enjoyed one of the largest terms-of trade improvements in 2022.Recent data show the trade surplus widened to QR355.2bn ($97.6bn) last year.As oil and gas prices remain above levels from early 2022, the external position will only deteriorate marginally this year, with the current account surplus at 15.6% of GDP, down from 17.1% in 2022.Oxford Economics’ 2023 GDP growth forecast for Qatar is still unchanged at 2.7%, only slightly higher than the consensus, at 2.6%.“We expect the non-oil sector to lead the expansion, though the pace of activity will nearly halve, to 3.3%. The January PMI fell to 45.7, the lowest in over two and a half years, as business activity has cooled since the World Cup.Still, the 12-month outlook soared to a three-year high, led by services sector resilience and labour market strength,” the researcher noted.In terms of tourist arrivals into the country, Oxford Economics’ baseline assumes only a modest drop in travel service exports this year given several major events, including the Asian Football Cup and the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix.Citing official figures, the researcher said there were over 600,000 tourist arrivals in December, the strongest monthly outcome in the series.The influx takes the 2022 total to 2.56m, more than four times the 2021 figure.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar drives GECF LNG exports to 16.45mn tonnes in February

GECF LNG exports have jumped 12% (1.74mn tonnes) year-on-year (y-o-y) to 16.45mn tonnes in February, driven by Qatar, which is the forum's top liquefied natural gas exporter, Doha-headquartered Gas Exporting Countries Forum said in its latest monthly report.The surge in GECF’s LNG exports was driven by Qatar (+0.84mn tonnes), Norway (+0.36mn tonnes), Malaysia (+0.33mn tonnes), Egypt (+0.15mn tonnes), Mozambique (+0.15mn tonnes), Angola (+0.14mn tonnes), Algeria (+0.10mn tonnes), Trinidad and Tobago (+0.08mn tonnes), Russia (+0.05mn tonnes) and Peru (+0.02mn tonnes).In contrast, LNG exports declined in the United Arab Emirates (-0.26mn tonnes) and Nigeria (-0.21mn tonnes), GECF noted.Looking at Qatar and Angola, lower maintenance activity at LNG facilities in both countries compared to a year earlier boosted the countries’ exports.In Norway, the continued ramp-up in production from the Hammerfest LNG facility, following its restart in June 2022, drove the increase in exports.Furthermore, higher feedgas availability for LNG exports in Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria and Trinidad and Tobago supported the increase in exports from these countries.With regard to Mozambique, the ramp-up in production from the Coral South FLNG facility supported the rise in LNG exports.On the other hand, the decline in LNG exports from the UAE was attributed to maintenance activity at the Das Island LNG facility.In Nigeria, lower feedgas availability for LNG exports contributed to the lower LNG exports.NLNG declared force majeure on feedgas supply to the liquefaction facility in January 2023, which remained in effect in February, GECF noted.In February 2023, global LNG exports rose sharply y-o-y by 11% (3.48mn tonnes) to 34.00mn tonnes.Stronger LNG exports from GECF member countries, non-GECF countries and higher LNG reloads drove the growth in global LNG exports.Non-GECF countries were the largest LNG exporters during the month with a share of 49.5% in global LNG exports, followed by GECF (48.4%) and LNG reloads (2.1%).In comparison to February 2022, the shares of GECF member countries and LNG reloads increased from 48.2% and 0.8% respectively while the share of non-GECF countries declined from 51.0%, the monthly report showed.At a country level, the US was the largest exporter in February 2023, followed by Australia and Qatar.For January and February of this year, combined, global LNG exports rose by 6.7% (4.33mn tonnes) y-o-y to 69.44mn tonnes, GECF noted.

Gulf Times
Business
Import tariffs removal on 10 exported chemical products can earn GCC region $747mn: GPCA

Import tariffs removal on top 10 exported GCC chemical products could earn the region $747mn based on 2021 trade figures, the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemicals Association has said in a report.This underlines the importance of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as a hugely beneficial instrument to increase the competitiveness of the GCC chemical industry and drive higher socio-economic benefits for the region, it said.The chemical industry is the third largest source of emissions in the industrial sector and contributes 14% of total industrial CO2 emissions, according to a white paper developed by GPCA and dss+ due to be released shortly.The paper also highlights that the industry is central to the achievement of net-zero ambitions, as its products contribute to emissions reduction in other industries. True net-zero transformation cannot be achieved in isolation without the involvement of external stakeholders such as policy makers, suppliers, customers and financial institutes, the paper argues.Senior industry leaders from the six GCC states convened at the third edition of the GPCA Leaders Forum to discuss the industry’s priorities in 2023 and beyond.The event concluded in Muscat under the theme, ‘Bracing for change: GCC chemicals in 2023 & beyond’ with 78 leaders from nine countries in attendance.“The petrochemical and chemical industries have an important role to play in supporting the circular economy. This means developing products that are recyclable, reducing waste and emissions, and exploring new ways to use waste streams as raw materials,” noted Hilal Kharusi, chief executive, Commercial & Downstream, OQ at Oman.Opening the forum, Kharusi highlighted the importance of carbon neutrality. “We must embrace the energy transition and look for ways to make our operations more sustainable. This means exploring new technologies, such as carbon capture and utilisation, investing in renewable energy sources, and innovation,” he said.Delegates enjoyed an array of insightful presentations from senior industry experts on pertinent topics, including the looming macro-economic outlook for 2023 and its expected impact on the chemical industry, delivered by Rachid Majiti, senior partner, McKinsey, as well as two leadership dialogues on international trade and the transition to net-zero.

A contractor installs 5G equipment on a light pole near Los Angeles International Airport in California. Global aviation is facing significant challenges as time is fast running out for airlines to meet proposed regulatory deadlines in the United States to ensure they won’t suffer interference from 5G C-band transmissions from towers located near US airports and approach paths.
Business
Airlines hit further air pockets as 5G rolls out in United States

Global aviation is facing significant challenges as time is fast running out for airlines to meet proposed regulatory deadlines in the United States to ensure they won’t suffer interference from 5G C-band transmissions from towers located near US airports and approach paths.Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States issued a directive, which gives airlines until July 1 to install new aircraft radar altimeters (RadAlts) or upgrade existing ones with new filters to utilise instrument landing systems at affected US airports.Furthermore, from February 1, 2024, aircraft that have not been retrofitted with filters or new RadAlts will be banned from operating in US airspace.RadAlts not only tell an aircraft its height from the ground but also feed into other safety-critical systems that are vital for landing, particularly in poor weather.An eleventh-hour compromise between the FAA and 5G telecom providers avoided massive flight disruptions in 2022. Under the deal, the telecom providers — AT&T and Verizon — agreed to restrict power levels of their 5G C-band towers near airports and approach paths.That compromise is set to expire in July, however. In the same month, up to 19 additional telecom providers are expected to introduce 5G services in the C-band and they are not part of the existing, voluntary deal.Airlines have long warned that the fifth-generation wireless technology, widely known as 5G, could interfere with sensitive airplane instruments such as altimeters, significantly hampering low-visibility operations and grounding planes.FAA, airlines, and manufacturers have cautioned against 5G interference risks since 2018, when the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed auctioning off the bandwidth to telecom providers.The industry continued to raise these concerns during and following the auctions, which raised billions of dollars for the US government.Unfortunately, industry concerns went unheeded until late 2022, when they reached the White House, leading to the last-minute compromise.Since then, airlines have borne the cost of modifying thousands of aircraft to enable them to operate in CAT 2 and CAT 3 landing conditions in the presence of 5G transmissions.The FAA, meanwhile, has logged about 100 instances of possible interference with RadAlts, although none has resulted in an incident or accident.The FAA estimates the cost of compliance at $26mn based on $26,000 per retrofit for approximately 1,000 aircraft.IATA calculations put the cost at twice that amount and if the 6,000 US aircraft that have already been retrofitted to follow FAA recommendations are included, the price soars to more than $450mn.If the cost of non-US carriers is also added, the industry outgoing will be close to $640mn, the association points out.“The unfairness of this outcome cannot be overstated,” says Doug Lavin, IATA’s vice president, (Member and External Relations – North America).“Airlines are having to find and pay for a solution to a problem of somebody else’s making. They are blameless yet suffering the consequences. But we want to move forward. We are working hard to find a rational solution.”IATA Director General Willie Walsh in a recent letter to US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Acting FAA Administrator Bill Nolen noted, “It is now clear to everyone (the FAA, the aircraft manufactures, the radio altimeter manufacturers, and airlines serving the United States) that many operators will not make the proposed July 2023 ... retrofit deadline owing to supply chain issues, certification delays, and unavoidable logistical challenges.”To date, other than the US, only Laos remains as being of high concern, IATA noted.Laos is at the early stages of 5G development and there is every reason to believe that it will listen to IATA advice on keeping 5G away from the aviation spectrum, according to Stuart Fox, IATA’s director, Flight and Technical Operations.“There is a minor issue in India with carriers unnecessarily advised to contact RadAlt manufacturers about upgrading but there are no safety issues,” he says.At present, Canada has limited 5G C-band transmission power, introduced exclusion zones on an interim basis, and antennas have a national down-tilt requirement. Australia, China, and Japan have all taken sensible precautions.In Japan, for example, the macro cell power levels are only 4% of that permitted in the United States and the small cell power levels are less than 1%.In Europe, the dedicated 5G spectrum is in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz range, far enough away from that used by radio altimeters.The power levels are generally far lower too. French transmission power, for example, is ten times lower than that licensed in the United States.Walsh urged the FAA to develop a project plan that includes milestones agreed to by all involved in the retrofit implementation.“A well-crafted implementation project plan clearly offers greater opportunities for success than today’s decentralised approach. It will also give the telcos a realistic picture as to progress to date and an expectation as to when they can take full advantage of their 5G investment.“Finally, it will inform the US Government as a whole as to what steps may need to be taken if the current deadlines prove unachievable.”Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. Twitter handle: @PratapJohn

Gulf Times
Business
Dukhan Bank net profit up 5% to QR1.25bn in 2022

Dukhan Bank reported a 5% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in net profit to reach QR1.25bn in 2022, with an EPS of QR0.227 per share, post considering nominal value of QR1 per share.This comes after the bank’s transformation into a Qatari public shareholding company by listing its shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange and commencement of trading from February 21, 2023.Total income for the year increased to QR4.5bn, showing solid double-digit growth of 10% from last year, while net income from financing activities also grew to QR3.2bn, marking a 10% y-o-y growth. Overhead expenses were below last year by 4% from QR782mn to QR750mn.Total assets reached QR106bn and financing assets increased to QR76bn with a growth of 1% over last year. The balance sheet is mainly funded by customer deposits, which reached QR75bn. The regulatory LDR was maintained at 100% level, asserting prudent liquidity management by the bank.The bank’s total equity soared to QR12.5bn, representing a growth of 3%, whereas the total capital adequacy ratio was 18.3% as of December 31, 2022, in accordance with Basel III and Qatar Central Bank (QCB) guidelines, showing strong and well-capitalised position of the bank.Return on equity and assets were 11% and 1.2%, respectively in 2022. The bank has been rated “A2” and “A-” by Moody’s and Fitch, respectively with a stable outlook.Reflecting on the robust performance, Dukhan Bank’s board of directors proposed a dividend distribution to shareholders of 16% or QR0.16 per share, post considering nominal value of QR1 per share after its conversion to a public listed company, increased from QR0.14 per share or 14% of the nominal share value last year, subject to approval of general assembly meeting of the shareholders and QCBSheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, chairman & managing director of Dukhan Bank, said: “We are very pleased that Dukhan Bank has continued its progressive growth journey, which led to improved financial performance that resulted in achieving solid growth, supported by stability, resilience, and high-performance of the Qatari banking sector in 2022.“The outstanding performance is also attributed to the exceptional hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup by the State of Qatar and the contribution that we have made to ensure its success by supporting our customers and Qatar’s guests with innovative and secured banking services.”He added: “This financial report is of particular importance to the bank’s management and shareholders as Dukhan Bank recently recorded a significant milestone by successfully listing its shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange, transforming into a Qatari public shareholding company. This step will enable us to share the positive results of the Bank’s successful growth journey over the years with a broader base of investors.”Noting the financial results, the board of directors stated: “The importance of the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) strategy launched by the bank in 2022 was highlighted in the meeting. The bank aims to be placed in a leading position within Qatar’s transition to a sustainable society, helping to build a future in which economic growth and sustainability are aligned in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030 with an increased focus on the bank digital transformation strategy to provide its more than 150,000 customers base an easy, secure, and seamless banking experience.”

QIIB chairman Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani.
Business
QIIB’s strategy to diversify investment, financing portfolios helps achieve growth: Sheikh Dr Khalid

QIIB’s strategy to diversify the bank’s investment and financing portfolios reinforced its position as a leading bank that maintains stable growth and achieves best returns for shareholders and best services and benefits for customers, chairman Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani has said.Addressing QIIB’s annual general meeting yesterday, Sheikh Dr Khalid noted that the bank “seized best opportunities to achieve potential gains.”He noted, “We continued to work hard with the Executive Management to accomplish our goals and worked closely with various economic sectors in Qatar in line with our strategy to diversify our investment and financing portfolios as much as possible to distribute potential risks.”Last year, he said Qatar continued to advance on all aspects and made great leaps in achieving self-sufficiency in most production and service sectors. After its successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the country became a “role model and a pride” for Arabs and the Middle East.“At Qatar International Islamic Bank, we are proud of these achievements and we thrive to keep pace with the country’s developments.”Throughout 2022, QIIB managed to maintain the strength of its financial position and stability of growth, and established partnerships of various investment dimensions overseas based on its “distinguished reputation” of the Qatari economy.“The bank’s financial results for the fiscal year that ended on December 31, 2022 showed that we have been able to balance between maintaining the stability of our financial indicators and profitability and overcoming the negative factors in the markets in recent years,” Sheikh Dr Khalid said.Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdulbasit Ahmed al-Shaibei said, “QIIB results during the past year continued to progress, which is a reflection of the trust gained from the local market and its position within the Qatari banking sector, which is making great strides.“We have transformed the plans and strategies approved by the Board of Directors into reality. This can be seen across the balance sheet, which we have disclosed. We have succeeded in overcoming many challenges by promoting innovation and adopting methodical solutions that help us strengthen our financial position.”Dr al-Shaibei noted, “Last year witnessed a great transition in digital transformation, which paved the way for more services through QIIB’s digital channels. This contributed significantly in enhancing operational efficiency and increasing demand for our services in addition to achieving increased customer satisfaction and fulfilling their needs in accordance with the best internationally approved practices.”QIIB achieved a net profit of QR1.07bn in 2022, up 7.2% on the previous year.Total assets stood at QR56.4bn while net financing assets totalled QR35bn last year. Customer deposits totalled QR36.7bn and total equity increased to QR 9.1bn at the end of 2022.Meanwhile, the AGM approved the Board of Director's recommendations to distribute 40% of the bank capital as cash dividends, equivalent to QR0.40 per share.It approved the BOD recommendation to issue sukuk qualified as Tier 2 capital of up to $500mn after obtaining the necessary approvals from the supervisory authorities provided the conditions and size of the issuance will be subject to a study of the bank’s needs and market conditions.The AGM approved board of directors’ recommendation to extend last year General Assembly’s approval of $1bn (for a sukuk) based on a study for each issuance and bank needs after getting all necessary approvals from supervisory authorities. The sukuk should not exceed the bank’s capital and reserves.It approved board of directors’ recommendation to extend last year General Assembly approval to issue Additional Tier1 Sukuk nonconvertible with the same rules and regulations.Issued sukuk should not exceed 50% of the bank’s capital based on rules set by regulatory authorities in this regard.QIIB said the extraordinary general meeting scheduled yesterday could not take place due to a lack of quorum. It has been rescheduled (virtual) for March 20 at 5-30pm.

Travellers at the arrivals hall at Hong Kong International Airport. After being confined indoors for nearly two years, many travellers around the world are now booking more trips than they did before the coronavirus era, to make up for lost time and reconnect with friends and family.
Business
‘Revenge’ travel catches up after 'lockdown fatigue’ in pandemic-hit global markets

After being confined indoors for nearly two years, many travellers around the world are now booking more trips than they did before the coronavirus era, to make up for lost time and reconnect with friends and family.Obviously, travel is in greater demand these days even though ticket prices are skyrocketing.Many airports have become chaotic because airlines are struggling to meet travel demands. Most countries have already reopened their borders and eased their Covid-19 restrictions.As more and more welcome discerning tourists, a trendy new phrase has also emerged on social media – ‘revenge travel’.“Revenge” generally has a negative connotation, but “revenge travel” can be interpreted as getting revenge against the pandemic, or against Covid itself.It’s a way to show that travellers have gone past severe Covid restrictions and are finding joy through travel again. Probably, it’s a way to get revenge on the last two years.“While the term may sound silly, ‘revenge travel’ refers to the idea that there will be a huge increase in travel as it becomes safer and things open back up,” points out Eric Jones, co-founder of The Vacationer.Erika Richter, vice-president, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) told CNN, “Revenge travel is a media buzzword that originated in 2021 when the world began to reopen, and people decided to make up for lost time.”Industry analysts believe “revenge travel will be all the rage over the next few years” and they estimate “a surge in bookings” in the coming months and years.In an attempt to gain back lost time that was taken during the pandemic, many people have begun booking trips, flights, and bucket-list destinations as many countries began reopening and allowing international tourists.The global body of airlines - International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that recovery in air travel was witnessed in 2022, which it said would continue this year.Total traffic in 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 64.4% compared to 2021. Globally, full year 2022 traffic was at 68.5% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels. December 2022 total traffic rose 39.7% compared to December 2021 and reached 76.9% of the December 2019 level.International traffic in 2022 climbed 152.7% versus 2021 and reached 62.2% of 2019 levels. December 2022 international traffic climbed 80.2% over December 2021, reaching 75.1% of the level in December 2019.Domestic traffic for 2022 rose 10.9% compared to the prior year. 2022 domestic traffic was at 79.6% of the full year 2019 level. December 2022 domestic traffic was up 2.6% over the year earlier period and was at 79.9% of December 2019 traffic.IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said, “The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel. This momentum is expected to continue in 2023, despite some governments’ over-reactions to China’s re-opening.”According to CNN, “One thing is clear: as vaccines roll out and doors reopen, people around the world are eager to get back out on the road again.”Travel booking company Expedia tracks online search data related to travel and tourism. In 2021, the single highest increase in average travel search traffic – 10% – was in May, the week after the European Union voted to extend their contract with Pfizer and approve the vaccine for use on adolescents.A survey last year by Expedia found that 60% of consumers had plans to travel domestically and 27% to travel internationally.And many of these travellers are willing to spend more money on a vacation than they would have in the past.During the pandemic, people around the world underwent a type of 'lockdown fatigue’.And for well over two years, many people had either cancelled travel plans or put them on hold, hoping the postponement would be temporary. Unfortunately, for many, it was not.Thus, the rise of revenge travel!Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. Twitter handle: @PratapJohn

IATA’s 2022 Safety Report for global aviation showed a reduction in the number of fatal accidents and the fatality risk, compared to 2021 and the five year average between 2018 and 2022
Business
IATA’s 2022 Safety Report for global aviation shows reduction in fatal accidents, fatality risk

IATA’s 2022 Safety Report for global aviation showed a reduction in the number of fatal accidents and the fatality risk, compared to 2021 and the five year average between 2018 and 2022.From this year, the safety report has been re-invented as an online interactive resource rather than in static PDF format.Report highlights include:• In 2022, there were five fatal accidents involving loss of life to passengers and crew. This is reduced from seven in 2021 and an improvement on the five year average (2018-2022) which was also seven.• The fatal accident rate improved to 0.16 per million sectors for 2022, from 0.27 per million sectors in 2021, and also was ahead of the five year fatal accident rate of 0.20.• The all accident rate was 1.21 per million sectors, a reduction compared to the rate of 1.26 accidents for the five years 2018-2022, but an increase compared to 1.13 accidents per million sectors in 2021.• The fatality risk declined to 0.11 from 0.23 in 2021 and 0.13 for the five years, 2018-2022.• IATA member airlines experienced one fatal accident in 2022, with 19 fatalities.IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said, “Accidents are rare in aviation. There were five fatal accidents among 32.2mn flights in 2022. That tells us that flying is among the safest activities in which a person can engage. But even though the risk of flying is exceptionally low, it is not risk-free.“Careful analysis of the trends that are emerging even at these very high levels of safety is what will make flying even safer. This year’s report, for example, tells us that we need to make some special efforts on turboprop operations in Africa and Latin America. Safety is aviation’s highest priority, and our goal is to have every flight take off and land safely regardless of region or aircraft type.”The industry 2022 fatality risk of 0.11 means that on average, a person would need to take a flight every day for 25,214 years to experience a 100% fatal accident. This is an improvement over the five-year fatality rate (average of 22,116 years).Despite the reduction in the number of fatal accidents, the number of fatalities rose from 121 in 2021 to 158 in 2022. The majority of fatalities in 2022 occurred in a single aircraft accident in China that claimed the lives of 132 persons.The airline involved was not an IATA member but is on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry (see Notes for Editors). The next largest loss of life occurred in an accident to an IATA member in Tanzania that resulted in 19 fatalities (see Notes for Editors). Participation in IOSA is a requirement for IATA membership.“IOSA continues to be the global standard for operational safety audits. With carriers on the IOSA registry having an aggregate safety record that is four times better than non-IOSA carriers, it is clearly continuing to make a difference. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, we are transitioning IOSA to a risk-based model. By focusing on pertinent safety risks while maintaining a baseline of safety, IOSA will contribute to raising the safety bar even higher. Additionally, the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA), for operators of smaller aircraft that are not eligible for the IOSA programme, ensures we look to deliver continuous improvement in safety performance across the whole aviation ecosystem,” Walsh noted.The global average jet hull loss rate rose slightly in 2022 compared to the five-year average (2018-2022). Five regions saw improvements, or no deterioration, compared to the five-year average.The number of turboprop accidents declined in 2022 compared to 2021 but they accounted for four of the five fatal accidents last year with loss of life to passengers and crew onboard. Although sectors flown by turboprops represented just 10.6% of the total, turboprops were involved in 36% of all accidents, 80% of fatal accidents and 16% of fatalities in 2022.Six regions showed improvement or no deterioration, in the turboprop hull loss rate in 2022 when compared to the five-year average. The two regions to see increases compared to the five-year average were Latin America/Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa.“Both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America saw increases in turboprop accidents last year. Introduction and adherence to global standards (including IOSA) are key to reversing this trend. The priority for Africa continues to be implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS),” said Walsh.

Gulf Times
Business
GCC takaful providers may pursue more M&A deals; sector’s growth prospects favourable: Moody’s

Moody’s expects takaful providers in the GCC region to pursue more merger and acquisition (M&A) deals after profit probably fell last year amid rising claims and costs.In a report, Moody’s Investor Service said it expects Islamic insurance (takaful) providers in GCC to accelerate technology investment and seek more merger and acquisition (M&A) deals to build the critical mass needed to improve efficiency and comply with more demanding regulation.“The sector’s growth prospects are favourable, reflecting the GCC region’s buoyant economy,” Moody’s noted.“Moody’s expects takaful providers in Gulf Co-operation Council countries to accelerate technology investment and seek more merger and acquisition (M&A) deals. This follows a likely decline in their combined net income for 2022 as higher prices only partly offset rising claims and costs.’’, said Mohammed Ali Londe, vice-president and senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service."The sector’s growth prospects are favourable, reflecting the region’s buoyant economy. Increased demand for health and life insurance, the spread of compulsory insurance coverage, and still low insurance penetration indicate ample scope for expansion, though intense competition will constrain future price increases. Many small takaful players will pursue M&A deals to build the critical mass needed to improve efficiency and comply with more demanding regulations,” Londe noted.Increased demand for health and life insurance, the spread of compulsory coverage, and still low insurance penetration indicate ample scope for expansion, though intense competition will constrain price increases.Continued economic expansion, led by government efforts to diversify away from hydrocarbons, will create growth opportunities for the GCC insurance and takaful sector.The GCC region’s post-pandemic economic rebound, fuelled by rising oil prices and government investment in economic diversification, will drive faster premium growth.Rising prices were a supportive factor in the second half of 2022, particularly in retail lines, where there was steep discounting during the pandemic.However, Moody’s expects intense competition to constrain future price increases. Increased demand for health and life insurance, the spread of compulsory insurance coverage, and still low insurance penetration indicate ample scope for future growth.In 2022, inflationary claims increases and a return to normal claims volumes after a pandemic-related decline put GCC insurers' profitability under pressure.Other headwinds include the adverse impact of volatile financial markets on investment performance, amplified by insurers' high exposure to equities and real estate. Tighter regulations around governance, risk and capital management have added to compliance risks and costs, particularly for smaller insurers.“We expect many small takaful players to seek M&A opportunities to help them meet capital and other regulatory requirements, and to spread the cost of their digitalisation investments.“We expect GCC takaful operators to raise their prices in response to rising claims, broader insured coverage in medical and higher reinsurance costs, although the increase will be limited by intense competition,” Moody’s noted.The impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations on the credit strength of most insurers in GCC countries is neutral to low, with good risk management and governance helping to offset their moderately negative exposure to environmental and social risks, it said.

Doha Insurance Group chairman Sheikh Nawaf Nasser bin Khaled al-Thani, directors, president Bassam Hussein and CEO Jassim al-Moftah at the company's AGM Tuesday.
Business
Doha Insurance Group gross written insurance premium jumps 24% to QR1.5bn in 2022: Sheikh Nawaf

Doha Insurance Group achieved “sustained and remarkable growth” in gross written insurance premiums amounting to QR1.5bn in 2022, which represents a 24% increase over 2021, company chairman Sheikh Nawaf Nasser bin Khaled al-Thani said Tuesday.Presenting the Doha Insurance Group board of directors’ report to company’s annual general meeting Sheikh Nawaf said the higher GWPs have been derived from the groups’ insurance business operations in Qatar and from its branch in Dubai.The AGM approved the proposal of the company’s Board of Directors to distribute to shareholders a cash dividend of 15% of the share par value, which translates into QR0.15 per share.Highlighting Doha Insurance performance in 2022, Sheikh Nawaf said the company achieved a net profit of QR102.1mn last year, up 39% on QR73.3mn registered in 2021.“Coupled with an unprecedented underwriting volume reflects the strength of the group’s technical foundations and its competitive advantage that encapsulate the group’s operational and financial success,” he said.Sheikh Nawaf said the group’s total assets amounted to QR3.3bn in 2022, which represents a growth rate of 13% compared to the previous year. This is the “highest recorded value” for the group’s total assets since its inception.Total shareholders’ equity amounted to QR1.157bn, while earnings per share amounted to QR0.20 in 2022.He said this year; Doha Insurance Group will apply the new accounting standard IFRS17 in its preparation of its financial statements, replacing the accounting standard IFRS4, and in compliance with the QCB instructions. The new accounting standard, which is an international standard, aims at providing an integrated accounting system that lays the foundation for the financial rotation of insurance companies’ accounts.Sheikh Nawaf noted that within the context of the new Health Insurance Law and in preparation for its implementation, the group has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding in partnership with a “distinguished” group of national insurance companies – Al Khaleej Takaful Insurance Company, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company and Qatar Islamic Insurance Company with GlobeMed Limited, a company that specialises in the administration and management of the health insurance business to acqwuire an 80% stake in GlobeMed, in equal shares of 20% for each company, after understanding the implementation mechanism of the new law and after reviewing insurance coverages limits, conditions and proposed pricing in this regard.In 2022, Doha Insurance Group entered into preliminary negotiations concerning a potential merger partnership deal with Al-Koot Insurance and Reinsurance Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gulf International Services.However, after entering into initial negotiations regarding the proposed deal, the negotiating parties “did not arrive at a common vision” that would have led to an initial agreement that achieves the interest of the shareholders of the two companies.This, he noted, resulted in the decision of the management of Doha Insurance Group and the Gulf International Services to halt these negotiations and to withdraw permanently from the proposed merger deal.Doha Insurance Group’s future plans include achieving further penetration and expansion in regional and international markets, Sheikh Nawaf said.“During the coming period, the group will seek to raise its global rating in line with growing positive development of its results,” he added.Doha Insurance Group president Bassam Hussein and CEO Jassim al-Moftah were among the top executives who were present at the AGM.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar emerges as 'top' global logistics hub; logistics share of economy set to double in coming years: QNBFS

Qatar emerges as a top global logistics hub and contribution of logistics sector to the country's economy could more than double from 4.2% in 2022 to nearly 10% in coming years, QNB Financial Services has said in a report.In its latest ‘Qatar Equity Strategy Alert’ QNBFS said the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has created platform for logistics sector growth and economic diversification.Real GDP growth of the country’s logistics sector was at an average of 5.9% from 2015-2019 before dropping by 34% in 2020 and has recovered with a growth of 10.9% in 2021.In nine months of 2022, the country’s logistics sector witnessed the highest growth of 26.7% among the prominent economic sectors.“The high growth in the sector can be attributed to the gigantic logistics requirements in hosting the hugely successful FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The highly successful global sporting event has created a solid platform for the both economic growth and diversification, with the logistics sector contributing to 4.2% of the overall economy for the nine months of 2022 growing from a 3.7% contribution to the economy in 2015,” QNBFS noted.According to QNBFS Qatar has emerged as a “global air cargo hub” on the back of Qatar Airways’ rapid expansion.In this area, Qatar climbed up the world rankings to 6th in 2021, from 17th in 2014 with over 2.58mn metric tonnes in international freight cargo moving through Doha’s Hamad International Airport.Qatar’s emergence and rapid growth trajectory as a global air cargo hub has been achieved through its incredible cargo tonnage increase in recent years.Air cargo tonnage has increased from 0.98mn tonnes in 2014 to over 2.58mn tonnes in 2021.Qatar had an air cargo growth of 20.7% in 2021 and an average growth of 15.5% from 2014-2021.GWC, the official logistics provider for the most successful edition of the FIFA World Cup, holds strong potential as logistics needs rise with Qatar’s increasing air cargo growth, QNBFS noted.The state budget overall expenditures for 2023 showed a slight decline in spending by 2.6% to QR199.0bn.The main reason behind this drop was a budgeted cut by 13.6% in allocations for major projects, resulting from the completion of many planned infrastructure and strategic projects, including the expansion of the Hamad International Airport before the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.For the nine months of 2022 actual government spending increased by 13.3% compared to the same period in 2021, QNBFS noted."The sky is the limit for a geographically prime-located country on a quest to become the preferred global air and maritime logistics hub, linking the east and the west," QNBFS said.Qatar is pursuing a dual strategy that has potential spin-offs on various QSE-listed logistics players.First, anchored by Qatar Airways – world's best airline (as ranked by Skytrax for an unprecedented 7th time in 2022) and largest air cargo carrier in the world, with a rapidly expanding cargo tonnage capacity enabled by its ballooning fleet size and focused expansion on the cargo business – Qatar has emerged as a global giant in air cargo transportation.Now ranked 6th globally in the air cargo rankings, the country’s emergence has been years in the making, with its air cargo volume rising 2.6 times between 2014 and 2021.All this, despite facing trade route restrictions and embargoes during the blockade that Qatar managed to outmanoeuvre, even flying in 4,000 cows to speedily achieve dairy self-sufficiency. Second, going forward Qatar’s position as a leading global LNG producer and shipper will be cemented by its ongoing LNG expansion mega-project.“These enviable milestones would not have been possible without a visionary government policy to invest in developing global-scale logistics infrastructure as part of its economic diversification strategy.“Dividends are beginning to show and during the first nine months of 2022 the logistics sector saw a whopping 26.7% real GDP growth, partly driven by the colossal requirements of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, witnessing the highest growth among other prominent sectors of the economy,” QNBF said.In the coming years, contribution of the logistics sector to the economy could more than double from 4.2% in 2022 to nearly 10% as it outpaces growth of the overall economy, QNBFS added.

no image
Business
Qatar seen ‘well positioned’ to leverage expertise in sporting event management

Qatar is well positioned to leverage its expertise in sporting event management, PwC said in its ‘Qatar Economy Watch’ report.Although the World Cup was by far the biggest event that Qatar has hosted, the country already has substantial experience including the Asian Games in 2006 and the first F1 Qatar Grand Prix in 2021, which is becoming an annual event.Other established annual events include the ExxonMobil Qatar Open Tennis Tournament, Qatar Masters Golf Tournament and the Qatar MotoGP Grand Prix.More mega-events will follow, including the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, the 2024 World Aquatics and the 2030 Asian Games.Qatar has also bid in the past to host the Olympics and is reconsidering it for 2036, with a successful FIFA World Cup under its belt.Qatar’s planning for the FIFA World Cup focused heavily on developing a long-lasting legacy, PwC noted.Stadium 974, for example, is based on a modular design that features stacks of shipping containers and the plan is to donate it to support sports in another country.Other stadiums such as Al Bayt, Ahmed Bin Ali, Al Janoub and Al Thumama will be reconfigured to reduce their capacities to between 20,000 and 25,000 seats, in line with domestic needs, freeing up around 170,000 seats to be donated.The infrastructure that has been built, including these stadia will be used to host future mega events.Meanwhile, Lusail Stadium will be reconfigured into a community space for schools and will house a number of sports facilities, health clinics and shops.“While Qatar will continue to focus on sports as a national priority and a core pillar of the country’s global brand, it should explore the potential of hosting global nonsporting mega-events such as music festivals, political and economic summits, and global expositions to encourage tourism and utilise its world-class facilities,” PwC said.Existing events such as the Doha Forum and the Geneva Motor Show serve as great examples for Qatar to continue to build on.In preparation for the FIFA World Cup, Qatar made significant leaps towards improving its transportation infrastructure.This included the development of the three-line, 37-stop Metro along with light rail networks in Msheireb, Lusail and Education City in line with the country’s commitment to sustainability.Looking ahead, the report noted, there are plans announced to build an additional Metro line and several new stations by 2026, as well as three additional lines for the Lusail Tram.

A cabin attendant carries bags of trash as she conducts her cleaning duties in the cabin of a Japan Airlines airplane at Haneda Airport in Tokyo (file). The passenger cabin is seen as a highly visible element of aviation industry’s environmental performance. The airline industry has been always the subject of criticism for inadequate cabin waste recycling, which threatens the sector’s environmental reputation.
Business
Sustainable cabin hinges on airlines' waste recycling, disposal initiatives

The passenger cabin is seen as a highly visible element of aviation industry’s environmental performance. The packaging used and the waste collected are indicative of an airline’s.text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[10789]**commitment to sustainable initiatives.The airline industry has been always the subject of criticism for inadequate cabin waste recycling, which threatens the sector’s environmental reputation.Cabin waste is made up of two main streams: Cleaning waste and catering (galley) waste.The average passenger generates approximately 1.43kg of waste per flight, equating to nearly 6mn tonnes of waste per year once traffic fully recovers in 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.Approximately 20% of this is untouched food and drink. That alone is worth about $4bn, money that is effectively incinerated and that could be allocated to environmental initiatives.Of course, the fact that this food and drink is sealed and untouched also suggests it could be used — perhaps for humanitarian efforts.Or, if biotreated, it could be a critical energy source. Not so. International Catering Waste (ICW) rules effectively prevent reuse, donation, recycling and biotreatment.In 2019, IATA’s 'cabin waste handbook' identified some 23 actions that could improve an airline’s cabin waste performance, including meal selection at time of check-in. Even so, it is clear that smarter regulation would alleviate much of the problem.Airline meals are produced using Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety procedures, initially designed by Nasa for the Apollo space programme.“And yet meals produced to such standards are deemed a biohazardous waste when discarded by a passenger, requiring specialist handling and treatment,” points out Jon Godson, IATA’s assistant director (Sustainability).An IATA-commissioned risk report shed further light on the matter. It indicated that for a pig to receive an infective dose of the foot and mouth virus — ICW’s main concern — it needs to ingest a minimum of 125 litres of contaminated milk.That represents 10,416 airline creamer pots, which in any case are heat treated and sealed. It is also worth noting that the last foot and mouth outbreak in the United States was in 1929 and in Canada it was 1952.Rather, the primary risk for animal disease transfer from air transport was from smuggled meat products. A study from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport suggests more than 3,200 tonnes of meat and fish were being smuggled every year, including wild-caught bushmeat from Africa.Similarly, a study in Switzerland estimated that over 1,000 tonnes of meat was being smuggled through Geneva and Zurich airports each year.“We need regulators to focus on real and not perceived risk,” says Godson.To demonstrate a potential way forward, IATA said it will work with six airlines on a TransAltantic reuse and recycling trial in 2023. The aim is to show aviation’s ability to recycle uncontaminated waste.IATA will also continue to lobby for changes in the regulation and, in fact, held 12 meetings with animal health authorities in 2022 alone. It has formed a European Airline ICW Working Group that published a Joint Statement for policy makers.In October 2022, this statement prompted six Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to raise questions about ICW rules."These questions have so far been downplayed with the well-worn answer of “international catering waste represents a high risk”. Yet, the European Commission has admitted that it has not performed a formal risk assessment on ICW," IATA noted.Airlines have been placed in an invidious position. They face criticism for not contributing to the circular economy based on restrictions introduced over 20 years ago that were not risk-based. Regulators seen unwilling or unable to listen.A risk-based approach to animal health control could lead to a shift in focus to that addresses the actual and not perceived risks.“We will continue to engage with policy makers in Europe and beyond in the hope that fact will eventually outweigh fiction,” concludes Godson.“Existing regulations reduce our ability to build a circular economy and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target to cut global food waste in half by 2030. Airlines will work collaboratively with regulators to ensure that aviation makes a positive contribution to this SDG target,” Godson noted.Clearly, a growing challenge for airlines is the sustainable management of millions of tonnes of waste generated within the cabin. Cabin waste is costing airlines money, consuming valuable resources, and undermining the sector’s credibility on sustainable operations.With a huge growth in passenger numbers expected in the coming decade, the volume of cabin waste could more than double in the next 10 years!This certainly calls for urgent action towards proper cabin waste recycling across the global airline industry.

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar’s inflation expected to moderate substantially in 2023 on drop in rents, recreation expenses

Qatar’s inflation is expected to moderate substantially on anticipated rent fall and a drop in recreation expenses, PwC said in a report.Qatar has not been immune to global inflationary pressures and domestic factors also contributed in 2022 with the run-up to the World Cup. Inflation peaked at 6% in September 2022 when it was the highest in the GCC, although this is still well below the levels seen in the US and Europe, easing to 5% in October.The anticipated increase in demand for accommodation for people attending the World Cup understandably put pressure on rents, which grew by 11.5% y/y in October 2022, the most since 2008, PwC said in ‘Qatar Economy Watch’.However, this came after a long period of falling rents, including during the pandemic, and in fact they only returned to early 2019 levels.In any case, it is expected that rents will likely ease once again this year, given the anticipated population decline; the fact that the real estate market remains muted – prices were actually down 3.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) in September 2022 according to QCB’s index – supports a moderation in rents.By contrast, the last time rent inflation was high, at 9% in September 2014, real estate prices were rising by 42% y-o-y. While some tenants have had to sign lease agreements for two-year periods, analysis suggests that rent prices will return to 2020 levels during the year 2023.The major contributor to inflation in 2022 was, perhaps surprisingly, not rents but recreation, a component of the consumer price index (CPI) which is heavily driven by air travel.It also received a local boost due to the World Cup on top of the overall post-pandemic recovery in air travel.Recreation prices were up by 31% y/y on average in January-October 2022, having previously declined by 16% in 2020, reaching record levels.Recreation has an 11% weight in Qatar’s CPI, more than triple the average for the rest of the GCC and accounted for more than half of inflation in October.Food and transport, which have been the major drivers of inflation globally, have had little impact in Qatar because of subsidies and the disinflationary impact of a strong riyal on imported prices.Excluding both recreation and rents, inflation in Qatar in October 2022 would have been close to zero.This suggests that in 2023, if these components stop increasing, or even fall, then overall inflation in Qatar should be quite low, even potentially negative.The IMF forecasts that inflation will average just 2.1% in 2023-27.Qatar has consistently topped rankings related to the cost of living, which affects its attractiveness as a destination for both FDI and skilled labour, and so a moderation in inflation, contrary to most countries, should help boost competitiveness. Efforts to lower the cost of living and doing business are also expected to feature in the government’s economic agenda for 2023 and beyond, PwC noted.