Qatar Airways added a record 23 new destinations over the past 18 months since the unjustified blockade on the country by a quartet of Arab nations, most of which were connected to its global network in 2018.
This is a key indicator of the national carrier’s sustainability and resilience, something which has never been achieved by any other airline.
Many new destinations are coming up in 2019. New routes to both Isfahan (Iran) and Valletta (Malta) have already been announced for the next year, a further testament to Qatar Airways' growth.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft via its state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to some 160 destinations worldwide.
The Qatar Airways group has generated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) of 23% at QR9.7bn in fiscal 2018. But this was lower than the previous year by QR1.759bn “due to longer flying time resulting from the illegal blockade and loss of departing seats from the blockading countries.
The national carrier carried more than 29.1mn passengers and lifted nearly 1.4mn tonnes of cargo in fiscal 2018.
As the first airline in the world to take delivery of the Airbus A350-1000 in February 2018, Qatar Airways proved once again that it leads where other airlines follow in terms of providing passengers with the latest generation aircraft available in the skies.
As well as taking delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000, the airline added 20 other aircraft to the fleet throughout the financial year, increasing the total number to 213 (as of March 31, 2018).
At a recent media event in Doha, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said, “One of the advantages Qatar Airways enjoys is having the flexibility of different aircraft types in our fleet, which gives us a massive competitive edge. We have identified many routes that our competitors have not yet considered, and we look forward to continuing our rapid expansion as we start the new year.”
Al-Baker also addressed the airline’s “proven” track record of creating a large hub in the midst of tough competition, and emphasised the tremendous potential the airline sees in launching new routes to under-served countries in Africa and Asia, and to connect passengers around the world via the airline’s home and hub, HIA.
A multiple-award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named "World’s Best Business Class" by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named "Best Business Class Seat", "Best Airline in the Middle East", and "World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge".
The national carrier’s ‘Qsuite’ business class seat was also named "Best Business Class" by the AirlineRatings’ Airline Excellence Awards 2019, whilst the airline’s renowned dine-on-demand in flight cuisine was also named "Best Catering".
The HIA has seen passenger numbers scaling up to nearly 9.7mn in the third quarter, which represents a 10.6% year-on-year increase.
The HIA, which is home to Qatar Airways, handled 57,031 aircraft movements in the third quarter of 2018, making this the “busiest quarter” of the year so far.
The HIA has also handled 538,551 tonnes of cargo in the third quarter of this year.
Presenting the HIA’s performance up to the third quarter in October, its chief operating officer Badr Mohamed al-Meer said, “HIA has demonstrated sustained and continued growth, experiencing the busiest quarter of 2018 so far. As a gateway to Qatar, we are committed to empower its travellers through hassle-free airport travel experience while also accommodating an increasing number of passengers.
“Our resilient operations, investment on cutting edge technology, and ambitious team had put HIA ahead of the curve in shaping the future of passenger experience”.
As Qatar gears up to welcome thousands of visitors during the FIFA World Cup 2022, the HIA is preparing to boost the airport’s capacity, which will eventually accommodate more than 50mn passengers a year by 2022.
The HIA is also working hand-in-hand with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to process the smooth arrival of visitors for the World Cup. To ensure seamless and hassle-free airport travel for the increase in passengers, the HIA has received 62 next-generation common-use check-in kiosks, with bag tag printing capability and boarding pass verification e-gates. These kiosks and e-gates will have the ability to use biometrics to identify passengers.
The HIA is currently a candidate for the “Best Airport in the World” 2019 award by Skytrax.
Earlier this year, it was ranked "Fifth Best Airport in the World" by the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards, and also classified as a five-star airport.