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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 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.
HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, at the agreement signing ceremony in Doha. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
Business
QatarEnergy selects ExxonMobil as partner in NFE project

QatarEnergy has selected ExxonMobil as a partner in the nearly $29bn North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. The partnership agreement was signed at QatarEnergy’s headquarters in Doha yesterday by HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. The agreement stipulates a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while ExxonMobil will hold the remaining 25% interest. The new JV will own 25% of the entire NFE project, which includes four mega LNG trains with a combined LNG capacity of 32mn tonnes per year. In his remarks during the ceremony, al-Kaabi said: “Today, we are signing a partnership agreement with ExxonMobil, our strategic and long-term partner, with whom we have enjoyed successful and fruitful relations in Qatar and across the globe. This is primarily due to the mutual trust and confidence between both parties, and to the Qatar’s safe and stable investment climate. “We look forward to working closely with ExxonMobil to implement this world-scale project, and to live up to our commitment to power lives with cleaner energy in every corner of the world for a better tomorrow for all.” Al-Kaabi said: “In addition to many energy projects in Qatar, we work with ExxonMobil in the upstream exploration sector in many parts of the world. We are also working closely together on the implementation of the Golden Pass LNG export project in Texas, as QatarEnergy implements its strategy to expand its portfolio in energy projects in Qatar and beyond.” Al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by saying: “I would like to thank His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his wise leadership and unwavering support to Qatar’s energy sector.” Woods said in comments at the ceremony: “ExxonMobil’s scale, unique capabilities, and expertise will contribute to enhancing the North Field’s LNG production capacity, helping to meet the world’s growing demand for energy while supporting a lower-emissions future.” “This is an important milestone in our longstanding relationship with Qatar and QatarEnergy, which continue to advance their global LNG leadership,” Woods concluded. The NFE project will expand Qatar’s LNG export capacity from the current 77mn tonnes per year to 110mn tpy. It is expected to start production in 2026, and employs the highest health, safety, and environmental standards, including carbon capture and sequestration, to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint to the lowest levels possible.    

A general view shows the opening of the 78th global airline industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Doha. The IATA called for governments to adopt a long term aspirational goal to decarbonise aviation at the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) later this year.
Business
ICAO must adopt long-term aspirational goal to decarbonise aviation: Walsh

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for governments to adopt a long term aspirational goal to decarbonise aviation at the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) later this year. The call came at the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) in Doha, where airlines are mapping out the pathway to the industry’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. “The decarbonisation of the global economy will require investment across countries and across decades, particularly in the transition away from fossil fuels. Stability of policy matters. At the IATA AGM in October 2021, IATA member airlines took the monumental decision to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. As we move from commitment to action, it is critical that the industry is supported by governments with policies that are focused on the same decarbonisation goal,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “Achieving net zero emissions will be a huge challenge. The projected scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon. Achieving that will require investments across the value chain running into the trillions of dollars. Investment at that magnitude must be supported by globally consistent government policies that help deliver the decarbonisation ambition, take into account differing levels of development, and do not distort competition,” said Walsh. “I am optimistic that governments will support the industry’s ambition with an agreement on a Long Term Aspirational Goal at the upcoming ICAO Assembly. People want to see aviation decarbonise. They expect the industry and governments to be working together. The industry’s determination to achieve net zero by 2050 is firm. How would governments explain the failure to reach an agreement to their citizens?” said Walsh. Data from a recent IATA survey shows that improving the environmental impact of airlines is seen as a post-pandemic priority for passengers, with 73% of people polled wanting the aviation industry to focus on reducing its climate impact as it emerges from the Covid crisis. Two-thirds of people polled also believe that taxing the industry will not achieve net zero faster and expressed concern about the money raised not being earmarked for decarbonisation projects.    

IATAu2019s Director General Willie Walsh addressing the air transport summit in Doha.
Business
Middle East airline industry net loss to drop to $1.9bn in 2022: IATA

Buoyed up by this year’s re-opening of international routes, long-haul flights in particular, net losses in Middle East’s airline industry are expected to narrow to $1.9bn in 2022, from a $4.7bn loss in 2021. The demand calculated on revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) is expected to reach 79.1% of pre-crisis (2019) levels, and capacity 80.5%, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its industry outlook released here on Monday. IATA also announced an upgrade to its outlook for the airline industry’s 2022 financial performance as the pace of recovery from the Covid-19 crisis quickens. Globally, industry losses are expected to reduce to $9.7bn (improved from the October 2021 forecast for an $11.6bn loss) for a net loss margin of -1.2%. That is a huge improvement from losses of $137.7bn (-36% net margin) in 2020 and $42.1bn (-8.3% net margin) in 2021. Industry revenues are expected to reach $782bn (+54.5% on 2021), 93.3% of 2019 levels. Flights operated in 2022 are expected to total 33.8mn, which is 86.9% of 2019 levels (38.9mn flights). Passenger revenues are expected to account for $498bn of industry revenues, more than double the $239bn generated in 2021. Scheduled passenger numbers are expected to reach 3.8bn, with revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) growing 97.6% compared with 2021, reaching 82.4% of 2019 traffic. As pent-up demand is released with the easing of travel restrictions, yields are expected to rise 5.6%. That follows a yield evolution of -9.1% in 2020 and +3.8% in 2021. Cargo revenues are expected to account for $191bn of industry revenues. That is down slightly from the $204bn recorded in 2021, but nearly double the $100bn achieved in 2019. Overall, the industry is expected to carry over 68mn tonnes of cargo in 2022, which is a record high. As the trading environment softens slightly, cargo yields are expected to fall 10.4% compared with 2021. That only partially reverses the yield increases of 52.5% in 2020 and 24.2% in 2021. Overall expenses are expected to rise to $796bn. That is a 44% increase on 2021, which reflects both the costs of supporting larger operations and the cost of inflation in some key items. Fuel: At $192bn, fuel is the industry’s largest cost item in 2022 (24% of overall costs, up from 19% in 2021). This is based on an expected average price for Brent crude of $101.2/barrel and $125.5 for jet kerosene. Airlines are expected to consume 321bn litres of fuel in 2022 compared with the 359bn litres consumed in 2019. War in Ukraine is keeping prices for Brent crude oil high, IATA noted. Nonetheless, fuel will account for about a quarter of costs in 2022. A particular feature of this year’s fuel market is the high spread between crude and jet fuel prices. This jet crack spread remains well above historical norms, mostly owing to capacity constraints at refineries. Under-investments in this area could mean that the spread remains elevated into 2023. At the same time, high oil and fuel prices are likely to see airlines improve their fuel efficiency — both through the use of more efficient aircraft and through operational decisions. IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said, “Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty. “Losses will be cut to $9.7bn this year and profitability is on the horizon for 2023. It is a time for optimism, even if there are still challenges on costs, particularly fuel, and some lingering restrictions in a few key markets.” He said revenues are rising as Covid-19 restrictions ease and people return to travel. The challenge for 2022 is to keep costs under control. “The reduction in losses is the result of hard work to keep costs under control as the industry ramps up. The improvement in the financial outlook comes from holding costs to a 44% increase while revenues increased 55%. “As the industry returns to more normal levels of production and with high fuel costs likely to stay for a while, profitability will depend on continued cost control. And that encompasses the value chain. Our suppliers, including airports and air navigation service providers, need to be as focused on controlling costs as their customers to support the industry’s recovery,” Walsh added.    

HE the Minister of State for Energy Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi addressing a press conference at QatarEnergy on Monday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
NFE project to produce LNG, LPG, ethane, condensate and helium: Al-Kaabi

Qatar’s North Field East (NFE) project will produce significant quantities of ethane, LPG, condensate and helium besides liquefied natural gas, HE the Minister of State for Energy Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi has said. Addressing a press conference at the QatarEnergy on Monday he said the expected production of LNG from the nearly $29bn project would be 32.6mn tonnes annually. The production of ethane from the project would amount to 1.5mn tonnes per year (tpy), LPG 4mn tpy, 250,000 barrels per day of condensate and 5,000 tpy of helium. In reply to a question by Gulf Times on Sunday, al-Kaabi said the multi-billion dollar North Field expansion, the largest LNG development in global history, will generate substantial revenues for Qatar and hugely contribute to the country’s GDP. QatarEnergy has selected ConocoPhillips as a partner in the North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. This is the third in a series of announcements on partnerships in the $28.75bn expansion project. Pursuant to the agreement signed yesterday, QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips will become partners in a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while ConocoPhillips will hold the remaining 25% interest. The JV in turn will own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, which has a total LNG capacity of 32mn tonnes per year. The NFE project employs the highest health, safety, and environmental standards, including carbon capture and sequestration, to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint to the lowest levels possible. More partners are slated to join the NFE project, QatarEnergy said yesterday.    

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker and IATA Director General Willie Walsh at the 78th IATA AGM in Doha on Monday.
Business
Qatar to gradually increase frequencies to EU over five years: Al-Baker

Qatar Airways will gradually increase frequencies and achieve the open skies with European Union (EU) within five years, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said on Monday. “We were the first country in the region to accept and sign a comprehensive air services agreement with the EU. This is because we are very open, are a very progressive country. It was a long negotiation of nearly four years between us and the EU. Eventually with the participation of all the EU carriers who were present during the talks, we managed to respond to all their concerns and finally succeeded in signing the comprehensive air services agreement,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 78th IATA AGM in Doha yesterday. Al-Baker said, “It does not mean that tomorrow I can fly all over Europe as many times as I want. It is over a period of nearly five years that we will gradually increase frequencies and eventually achieve the open sky regime.” Earlier, Qatar’s Ministry of Transport had said, “Per the Agreement, the companies concerned from all intended countries will enjoy an easy and free access to markets with less restrictions, aiming to significantly boost the opportunities of competition which all parties were keen they shall be fair and shall ensure the application of the principles of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) through allowing fair and equal opportunities for all parties.”    

HE Akbar al-Baker
Business
Airline industry responsible for only 2.6% of total emissions: Qatar Airways chief

Global airline industry is the “target” for global warming and producing lot of greenhouse gases, although it is responsible for only 2.6% of total emissions, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said. “People are forgetting that shipping is many times more than us…there are more airplanes in the sky than ships in the sea. So we need to tell the general public that we are being targeted. The whole world economy and the transportation network depends a lot on air services,” al-Baker told reporters in Doha yesterday. Al-Baker said the industry's net-zero 2050 target, which was set last year, would be difficult for airlines to achieve. It is going to be "very challenging", al-Baker said. He said other stakeholders in the industry, including engine makers and oil companies, would need to contribute to the goal. In its recently released annual report for 2021/22, the national airline said, "Despite the aviation industry contributing to less than 2% of the global emissions, Qatar Airways is working with industry stakeholders in leading global efforts to tackle climate change. Reducing emissions is modern aviation’s greatest challenge, and our commitment to climate change goals demonstrates the importance we have placed on this matter. “At Qatar Airways Group, we are aligned with aviation industry pillars recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA): technology, more efficient operations, sustainable aviation fuels and offsetting. “Qatar Airways, together with the oneworld alliance committed to a net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first global airline alliance to unite behind a common target to achieve carbon neutrality and outlined its path towards the sector decarbonisation.”    

HE Akbar al-Baker
Business
Qatar Airways has no issue recruiting pilots or cabin crew: Al-Baker

Qatar Airways has no issue recruiting pilots or cabin crew and his airline is inundated with job applications, Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said but warned labour shortages will be a big challenge in the coming months. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 78th IATA AGM and World Air transport Summit in Doha yesterday al-Baker revealed that Qatar’s national airline received some 20,000 applications when it sought 900 additional pilots to meet its growth plan. And at the airline's 'open day' for cabin crew in one particular city, some 25,000 turned up. "People got into a bad habit of working from home," al-Baker said. "They feel they don't need go to an industry that really needs hands-on people," he said, adding shortages in airport staff could restrict the post-crisis growth of airlines. According to an IATA report, direct employment in the airline sector is expected to reach 2.7mn, up 4.3% on 2021 as the industry rebuilds from the significant decline in activity in 2020. Employment is still, however, somewhat below the 2.93mn jobs in 2019 and is expected to remain below this level for some time. Unit labour costs are expected to be 12.2 cents/available tonne kilometre (ATK) in 2022, which is essentially back to 2019 levels when it was 12.3 cents/ATK. The time required to recruit, train, complete security/background checks, and perform other necessary processes before staff are “job-ready” is presenting a challenge for the industry in 2022. In some cases, employment delays may act as a constraint on an airline’s ability to meet passenger demand. In countries where the economic recovery from the pandemic has been swift and the unemployment rate is low, tight labour markets and skill shortages are likely to contribute to upward pressure on wages. The industry’s wage bill is expected to reach $173bn in 2022, up 7.9% on 2021, and disproportionate to the 4.3% increase in total jobs.    

HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, at the partnership agreement signing ceremony on Monday in Doha. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Qatar
QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips in partnership for NFE expansion

QatarEnergy has selected ConocoPhillips as a partner in the North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. This is the third in a series of announcements on partnerships in the $28.75bn expansion project. HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, signed the partnership agreement at the QatarEnergy’s headquarters yesterday. Pursuant to the agreement signed on Monday, QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips will become partners in a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while ConocoPhillips will hold the remaining 25% interest. The JV in turn will own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, which has a total LNG capacity of 32mn tonnes per year. Al-Kaabi said: “Today, we sign a new partnership agreement that will further enhance our relationship and enable us to benefit from the wide experience of ConocoPhillips in the development of the world’s largest LNG expansion project. Our work together will enable us to meet our target of increasing the State of Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 to 110mn tonnes per year through the North Field East project, which will start production in 2026.” “Our collaboration will help produce cleaner energy to meet growing global demand and achieve a realistic energy transition towards achieving our climate change objectives thanks to the project’s industry-leading environmental attributes, including carbon capture and sequestration and other technologies deployed in this project.” Al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by saying: “I would like to thank His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for His wise leadership and for his unwavering support to Qatar’s energy sector.” In his remarks during the ceremony, Lance said, “ConocoPhillips is delighted to build on our long history of partnering with QatarEnergy and participate in this next phase of development of Qatar's North Field. “We recognise that LNG plays an increasingly important role in energy security and the global energy transition.” The NFE project employs the highest health, safety, and environmental standards, including carbon capture and sequestration, to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint to the lowest levels possible. More partners are slated to join the NFE project, QatarEnergy said yesterday.    

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Business
QatarEnergy selects ConocoPhillips as third partner in NFE expansion project

QatarEnergy has selected ConocoPhillips as a partner in the North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. This is the third in a series of announcements on partnerships in the $28.75bn expansion project. HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Ryan Lance, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, signed the partnership agreement at the QatarEnergy’s headquarters on Monday. Pursuant to the agreement signed on Monday, QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips will become partners in a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while ConocoPhillips will hold the remaining 25% interest. The JV in turn will own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, which has a total LNG capacity of 32mn tonnes per year. Al-Kaabi said, “Today, we sign a new partnership agreement that will further enhance our relationship and enable us to benefit from the wide experience of ConocoPhillips in the development of the world’s largest LNG expansion project. Our work together will enable us to meet our target of increasing the State of Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 to 110mn tons per year through the North Field East project, which will start production in 2026.” “Our collaboration will help produce cleaner energy to meet growing global demand and achieve a realistic energy transition towards achieving our climate change objectives thanks to the project’s industry-leading environmental attributes, including carbon capture and sequestration and other technologies deployed in this project.” Al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by saying: “I would like to thank His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for His wise leadership and for his unwavering support to Qatar’s energy sector.” In his remarks during the ceremony, Lance said, “ConocoPhillips is delighted to build on our long history of partnering with QatarEnergy and participate in this next phase of development of Qatar's North Field. “We recognise that LNG plays an increasingly important role in energy security and the global energy transition.” The NFE project employs the highest health, safety, and environmental standards, including carbon capture and sequestration, to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint to the lowest levels possible. More partners are slated to join the NFE project, QatarEnergy said on Monday.      

HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Business
North Field LNG development to have multiplier effects on Qatar’s economy: Al-Kaabi

The multi-billion dollar North Field Expansion, the largest LNG development in global history, will generate substantial revenues for Qatar and hugely contribute to the country’s GDP, noted HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi. The North Field expansion, comprising North Field East (NFE) and North Field South (NFS), will provide significant benefits for all sectors of the Qatari economy during the construction phase and beyond, al-Kaabi said in reply to a question by Gulf Times at a media event at QatarEnergy headquarters on Sunday. NFE will expand Qatar’s LNG export capacity from the current 77mn tonnes per year (mtpy) to 110 mtpy (in the first phase expected to be completed by 2025). The North Field expansion plan includes six LNG trains that will ramp up Qatar’s liquefaction capacity from 77 mtpy per year to 126 mtpy by 2027. Four trains will be part of the North Field East and two trains will be part of North Field South project, he noted. Stressing the importance of the private sector, the minister said Qatar’s private sector will have a huge opportunity to contribute to the project. “This week, we'll be announcing four major projects, three in gas and one in petrochemicals. Over the next seven years we will be investing billions of dollars into many projects, including one on gas-fired electricity generation,” al-Kaabi said. He said after the current phase of the construction activities, the North Field Expansion and other QatarEnergy projects will keep driving the local economy.    

Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni.
Business
QatarEnergy to have series of global partnerships with Eni: Al-Kaabi

QatarEnergy will have a series of partnerships with Eni, which include upstream exploration projects in a number of locations around the world as it expands its international footprint, said HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi. “Our collaboration also covers LNG deliveries through the Fluxys LNG terminal in Zeebrugge in Belgium,” he said at a media event at the QatarEnergy headquarters here on Sunday. “However, this partnership agreement is different. It is Eni’s first entry into the upstream sector in the State of Qatar. And I take special pleasure in welcoming them as new member of Qatar’s LNG family,” he said. QatarEnergy yesterday selected Eni as a partner in the North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. This announcement marks the second partnership in the $28.75bn NFE mega project, which will expand Qatar’s LNG production capacity from the current 77mn tonnes per year to 110mn tpy. Al-Kaabi welcomed Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Eni, to the event where the Italian multinational oil and gas company was announced as a partner to the “unique and strategic” North Field East (NFE) expansion project. “I would like to thank Mr Descalzi for Eni’s participation in this competitive process and to congratulate him on the signing of this agreement, which will significantly strengthen our mutual cooperation for decades to come,” al-Kaabi said. Pursuant to the agreement, QatarEnergy and Eni will become partners in a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while Eni will hold the remaining 25% interest. The JV will in turn own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, whose four mega LNG trains have a combined nameplate capacity of 32mn tonnes per year.    

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Business
IATA launches ‘CO2 Connect’ in support of industry sustainability commitment

The International Air Transport Association has launched ‘IATA CO2 Connect’, an online tool, which provides the most accurate carbon dioxide emission calculations for any given commercial passenger flight. IATA CO2 Connect responds to the growing demand for CO2 data transparency linked to airline specific and actual fuel burn information and load factors. This sets it apart from theoretical data models that already exist on the market today. IATA CO2 Connect is available to companies within and outside the travel value chain, such as travel management companies (TMCs), travel agencies, airlines or multinational corporations. They can access the relevant CO2 emissions data and integrate it in a customised manner into their existing flight booking tools. Travel managers or travellers can easily see the CO2 emissions per routing. The tool also permits the consolidation of data for reporting purposes. IATA CO2 Connect utilises the newly developed CO2 calculation methodology, adopted by IATA’s Passenger Service Conference in March this year. This was conceived by leading partners from 20 airlines and major aircraft manufacturers, in consultation with international standard-setting bodies and logistics services providers. American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the world’s leading B2B travel platform, is IATA’s launch partner for CO2 Connect. The travel management company (TMC), which manages more than $40bn in travel sales annually, undertakes to provide its customers with the most accurate and reliable flight emissions data, enabling travellers to make better-informed booking decisions. Frederic Leger, IATA’s senior vice president (Commercial Products and Services) told a media event on the sidelines of the IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Doha yesterday, “Flying sustainably and cutting CO2 emissions is a top priority. The aviation sector is working to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and travellers want to be more aware of their carbon footprint. “With IATA CO2 Connect, individuals and corporate travel managers can get standardised accurate calculations to make the most sustainable choices for their air travel taking into consideration aircraft types, routings and class of service. Importantly, data can be consolidated for corporate reporting purposes.” Companies interested in accessing IATA CO2 Connect can integrate the data into existing travel management solutions via Application Programming Interface (API) or flat file technology/format. In contrast to many existing CO2 calculators, IATA CO2 Connect uses primary data from airlines.    

Kamil Alawadhi, IATA regional vice-president for Africa and Middle East.
Business
IATA regional chief praises Qatar for accommodating aviation during pandemic

IATA regional vice-president for Africa and Middle East Kamil Alawadhi has praised Qatar and the UAE for accommodating the concerns of the aviation industry, while placing restrictions at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 78th IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Doha on Sunday he said, “in Qatar aviation was a prominent member of the committee to tackle Covid-19 situation. Consequently, the decisions were made with aviation in mind. “In many other countries in the region, decisions were not taken with a collaborative approach and aviation in mind. This has hugely impacted the aviation industry in the region. The rest of the countries should have looked at Qatar and the UAE and said this is how we should have done it,” Alawadhi noted. Earlier making a presentation on regional aviation, Alawadhi said the Middle East is recovering and said the regional carriers are currently at 65% of the 2019 levels in terms of revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), which is a “better” performance than in the previous quarter. “The opening of the international markets, especially China for which Middle Eastern countries serve as hubs, facilitated the recovery and will drive further growth in RPKs,” Alawadhi said. In terms of the ticket bookings, he said the first quarter of 2022 showed “some volatility” in the Middle East, oscillating between 73% to 80% of 2019 levels. He said the Middle East is well on its way to reestablishing routes with the rest of the world. Connectivity between countries in the region have exceeded pre-pandemic levels as has connectivity between the region and North America. As expected, connectivity between the region an Asia-Pacific remains depressed due to Covid restrictions in China. In the Middle East, this year’s reopening of international routes and long-haul flights will provide a welcome boost for many. Alawadhi said the region’s air cargo business is already operating at 18% above pre-Covid levels. Air cargo has been a lifeline for many, delivering vaccines, PPE, medical equipment and even e-commerce. “In doing so, it has also been the revenue star for many airlines in the industry. The Region’s carriers, specifically, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad played a critical role in the mammoth task by keeping flying throughout the crisis,” Alawadhi said. He also called upon governments to work closely with the industry and with each other to drive a harmonised agenda for air transport in the region. This, Alawadhi noted, will help the region better prepare for future crises that may impact aviation.    

The event, hosted by Qatar Airways, attracts the industryu2019s most senior leaders from among IATAu2019s 290 member airlines, as well as leading government officials, strategic partners, equipment suppliers, and media.
Qatar
78th IATA Annual General Meeting begins in Doha

The 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) began in Doha on Sunday as global airlines simultaneously recover from the Covid-19 crisis. The event, hosted by Qatar Airways, attracts the industry’s most senior leaders from among IATA’s 290 member airlines, as well as leading government officials, strategic partners, equipment suppliers, and media. The World Air Transport Summit (WATS) opens immediately following the AGM this morning. A highlight will be the third edition of the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Awards’ sponsored by Qatar Airways. These awards recognise organisations and individuals who are making a difference in helping to drive the industry’s ‘25by2025’ initiative to make the aviation industry more gender balanced. The WATS will also feature the popular ‘CEO Insights Panel’ moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest and featuring Adrian Neuhauser, CEO, Avianca, Pieter Elbers, CEO, KLM, Akbar al-Baker, Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways and Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO, Virgin Australia. In addition to the updated industry economic outlook, key topics to be addressed include: the War in Ukraine and its implications for the globalized world; the challenges to achieving sustainability, including net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and reducing the use of single use plastics, allocating scarce airport capacity, and ensuring safe carriage of lithium batteries. This is the fourth time that the AGM is hosted in the Middle East. In normal times, aviation in the region supports some 3.4mn jobs and $213bn in economic activity. “Since we were last in Doha, the region has only increased its importance to global connectivity. According to the most recent figures, the region’s airlines account for 6.5% of global international passenger traffic and 13.4% of freight movements. Much of this growth has occurred in the Gulf region, as is typified by our host airline,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker said, “It is an absolute privilege to be hosting our industry partners in Qatar Airways’ home city, particularly during our milestone 25th year of operations. “Coming together face-to-face provides us with the opportunity to discuss lessons learnt from our recent years during the pandemic, global issues affecting us all in the here and now, and to plan the best way forward for the industry.”    

Officials seen during the press conference.
Qatar
QatarEnergy partners with Eni in $29bn NFE LNG project

*NFE expansion project, single largest in LNG industry history *This Eni’s first entry ever into Qatar’s upstream sector   QatarEnergy has selected Eni as a partner in the North Field East (NFE) expansion project, the single largest project in the history of the LNG industry. This announcement marks the second partnership in the $28.75bn NFE mega project, which will expand Qatar’s LNG production capacity from the current 77mn tonnes per year to 110mn tpy. This is Eni’s first entry ever into Qatar’s upstream sector. The partnership agreement was signed at the QatarEnergy’s headquarters in Doha by HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also, the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, and Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Eni, in the presence of senior executives from both companies. Pursuant to the agreement, QatarEnergy and Eni will become partners in a new joint venture company (JV), in which QatarEnergy will hold a 75% interest while Eni will hold the remaining 25% interest. The JV will in turn own 12.5% of the entire NFE project, whose four mega LNG trains have a combined nameplate capacity of 32mn tonnes per year. Al-Kaabi highlighted QatarEnergy’s relations with Eni and welcomed the new partnership. He said, “I would like to welcome Eni as a new member of Qatar’s LNG family. This agreement will strengthen our mutual cooperation for decades to come. It is an important addition to a series of partnerships with Eni, which include upstream exploration projects in a number of locations around the world as QatarEnergy expands its international footprint.” “I would like to thank His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for His wise leadership and for his unwavering support to Qatar’s energy sector.” On his part, Descalzi said, "We are honoured and delighted for having been selected as partner in the North Field East expansion project. As a newcomer joining this world leading LNG project, we feel the privilege and the responsibility of being a strategic partner of choice for Qatar. “This agreement is a significant milestone for Eni and fits our objective to diversify into cleaner and more reliable energy sources in line with our decarbonisation strategy. Eni looks forward to working with QatarEnergy on this project to positively contribute to increasing worldwide gas security of supply.” More partners are slated to join the NFE Project, and the relevant announcements will be made soon.    

Gulf Times
Business
Ease border restrictions to enable seamless movement of people: Baronci

Airports Council International is committed to continue with advocacy efforts to ensure boarders-restrictions across the region are eased to stimulate the recovery of the industry, according to Stefano Baronci, director general, ACI (Asia-Pacific). “We have engaged with multiple governments to ensure international travel is seamless,” he said in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times. On the importance of easing border restrictions, Baronci said aviation industry is an engine of economic growth by facilitating tourism, trade and connectivity. There are multiple economic benefits that are indirectly linked to the industry. The global economic recovery also heavily depends on aviation industry. Realising this, he noted, “A majority of countries in our region have abolished pandemic-related travel curbs which will further stimulate the recovery of industry. Testing, quarantine and limitations on foreign arrivals and limitations on tourism, discourage travel and hinder the economic recovery. Therefore, it is crucial that border restrictions are eased to enable seamless movement of people.” Travel restrictions ranging from mandatory quarantines in designated facilities to pre-departure testing and on arrival; suspension of international air travel in some parts of the region; geopolitical conflict and subsequent impacts on macroeconomic factors have proved to be detrimental to the overall growth of aviation. In 2020, ACI launched the Airport Health Accreditation programme to assist airports by assessing new health measures and procedures introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic against global standards. The programme provides airports with an assessment of how aligned their health measures are with the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Recommendations along with industry best practices. “We focused on ensuring that airport operations and public health measures were implemented in accordance with ICAO CART recommendations. Due attention was also given to economic survival of the industry and safeguarding interests in the future.” This, Baronci noted, “is the area where we provided much support to our members, advocating state-support of the industry to the extent possible and risk-based approaches to travel protocols. We also participated in many dialogues with governments and policymakers on the coordinated reopening of the industry.” Over the past two years, ACI Asia-Pacific has been actively representing the interests of its airport members and world business partners at national, regional and international levels. “Our team is working closely with ICAO, civil aviation and public health authorities, and other industry stakeholders to facilitate a sustainable recovery in a harmonising manner.” Nonetheless, Asia-Pacific includes some of the most restrictive markets in the world, where compulsory quarantine, uncoordinated travel restrictions, complicated administrative processes, and repetitive and expensive tests continue impede international travel. The global spread of the Omicron variant demonstrates the ineffectiveness of travel bans in containing the transmission of Covid-19. However, such measures continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by many countries. In fact, the WHO statement on international travel restrictions, issued in January 2022, recommended states should consider lifting or modifying measures, such as testing and/or quarantine requirements, based on risk assessments. In addition, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its subsequent impacts on macroeconomic factors have proved to be detrimental to the overall growth of aviation. The surge in aviation fuel price combined with the blockade of air space across Russia too have added to the woes. ACI Asia-Pacific will continue to gear up its efforts in advocating a pragmatic and risk-based approach in reopening, coordinated protocols to testing and vaccination, and an interoperable digital health pass as part of an effort to facilitate international travel. Baronci said the pandemic has certainly changed passengers’ expectations and perceptions in their travel experience with much priority given to public health. Despite the severe loss of revenue, many airports are investing in touchless, self-service technologies to meet hygiene standards, restore passengers’ confidence, and improve travel experience. The digitalisation and biometric technology can be used to facilitate queuing, expediting check-in and security processes. As a result, airports can efficiently manage peak hour capacity, improve efficiency and lower operating costs, he noted. On the realistic target to see traffic coming back to pre-Covid levels, Baronci said, “We expect Asia-Pacific and the Middle East to recover at rates between -40% and -50% versus the projected baseline, a reflection of the different reopening approaches taken by governments. “The Middle East, where air transport markets are predominantly international, took a more pragmatic approach, reopening with health-related safeguards such as testing and vaccinations. The Middle East, where air transport markets are predominantly international, took a more pragmatic approach, reopening with health-related safeguards such as testing and vaccinations.”

Stefano Baronci, director general, Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific
Business
Qatar’s airports to set new benchmarks for the industry, says ACI Asia-Pacific chief

Qatar’s two airports – Hamad International and Doha International – will continue to transform airport operations and set new benchmarks for the industry, says Stefano Baronci, director general, Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific. “Through the implementation of new technologies and increased hygiene efforts, the two airports in Doha have ensured passengers continue to enjoy healthy airport experience amid the pandemic. With the deployment of passenger-friendly technologies, HIA reaffirmed their commitment to ensure safe passenger experience,” Baronci said in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times. Providing an assessment of Hamad International Airport, Baronci said, “HIA is a state-of-the-art airport, setting new standards for the aviation industry, airport architecture and design quality. The airport is equipped with ample airside and terminal capacities besides its endless shopping and dining offerings. It’s well connected with ground transportation, including a metro line. HIA has improved its passenger processing facilities with the implementation of self-bag drop and security screening equipment.” Of the many facilities that HIA offers, Baronci said its extensive flight network and modern, clean facilities struck him the most. Speaking about the general performance of the Middle East airport industry, Baronci said the Middle East, owing to its high share of international and transfer traffic, would see a decline of -43%. The pace of recovery of Middle East is forecasted to lag behind the global average of -36%. Practically all countries in the Middle East have abandoned zero-Covid approaches to fight the pandemic. A fundamental pre-requisite for this progression has been the increasing level of vaccination, covering approximately 70% of the population across Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The overall recovery in Asia-Pacific is still slower than that of other regions, despite being the first region to be hit by Covid-19, and with large domestic markets, such as China and South Korea that experienced relatively fast recovery in 2021. The latest ACI Economic Impact Assessment expects that passenger traffic in Asia-Pacific in 2022 will experience a decline of -49% compared to the projected baseline verse the global average of -36%. In the last few months, an increasing number of countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia have also withdrawn the restrictions on international air travel. Nonetheless, the spread of the Omicron variant in key markets, including China and Hong Kong, and the subsequent renewed social restrictions, tightening border controls, as well as domestic lockdowns have cast a shadow over the recovery. Additionally, the geopolitical crisis in Eastern Europe and its impacts on macroeconomic factors, including hyperinflation and rising energy prices, have negatively affected the supply and demand for air travel. ACI estimated that, in general, markets that enjoy dominant share of domestic traffic are expected to recover quicker, and to reach pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of 2023. However, markets that rely on international traffic are unlikely to return to 2019 levels until the second half of 2024. “Passenger traffic is the lifeblood of the airport business. Practically all aeronautical revenues are a direct function of passenger traffic. Moreover, an overwhelming share of non-aeronautical revenues, such as retail, car parking, food and beverage, etc. depend on passenger traffic,” Baronci noted. As such, ACI forecast that revenues in Asia-Pacific airports will reduce proportionally to passenger traffic at -49% compared to the projected baseline, or $23bn in 2022. Baronci said recent studies conducted by ACI Asia-Pacific shows the travel restrictions imposed in the wake of Omicron had “little or no impact” on the spread of the virus and is only hampering the recovery of the sector.

Qatar Airways Logo
Business
Qatar Airways Cargo transports more than 3mn tonnes of air freight in 2021-22

Qatar Airways Cargo transported more than 3mn tonnes of air freight, accounting for 7.99% share in the global market in fiscal 2021/22. This, the national airline said in its annual report for 2021/22, represents a tonnage growth of 272,975 tonnes in chargeable weight, up 10% on the same period in the previous year. The report noted Qatar Airways Cargo maintained its position as the world’s leading air cargo carrier throughout the financial year, forging ahead with a strategic focus on growth, sustainability and digitalisation, and supporting the continuity of global trade, despite ongoing market challenges. Serving over 65 dedicated freighter destinations and more than 140 belly-hold passenger destinations worldwide, the carrier mirrored its strong performance from 2020/2021, operating a maximum of 155 flights per day at its peak in June 2021. With a significant proportion of this gross tonnage comprising of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical supplies to support the ongoing global pandemic recovery, the carrier also further cemented its status as a major transporter of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The airline transported more than 600mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines over the course of the pandemic to date and also concentrated its efforts in enhancing its renowned pharma product and industry presence, while also ensuring commitment to its ground-breaking ‘WeQare’ initiative, which is based on the core pillars of sustainability: environment, society, economy and culture. In July 2021, Qatar Airways Cargo became a member of both Pharma.Aero as well as the Cool Chain Association, in its endeavour to collaborate in defining the highest standards in the shipment of valuable pharma goods and ensuring sustainability in transportation by avoiding integrity deviations leading to medical or food wastage. Qatar Airways Cargo was able to fulfil its commitment to the Unicef Covax programme, transporting over 154mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines as part of a memorandum of understanding signed in February 2021, providing five years of vaccine transport support to this important cause.