*Orders are currently worth over $82bn
Qatar Airways has more than 290 aircraft on order, which are currently worth over $82bn, Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said on Wednesday.
These include Boeing 777s, 787-9, some MAXs still on order, Airbus 350s, A321neos, freighters and 33 corporate jets.
“Nearly 80% of these are for fleet replacement,” al-Baker told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the ‘CAPA Qatar Aviation, Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit’ in Doha on Wednesday.
Qatar Executive, which is the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group, is the launch customer for Gulfstream’s G700, the world’s first commercial service operator of the Gulfstream G500 and the largest commercial operator of the G650ER worldwide.
“Our cargo business continues to grow. We are the largest cargo operator in the world, minus the package carriers that are Fedex and UPS.
“Qatar Airways Cargo serves more than 60 exquisite freighter destinations worldwide and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 21 Boeing 777 freighters and five Airbus A330 freighters. The five A330s will be replaced by an equal number of Boeing 777 freighters,” he said.
This year, al-Baker said, Qatar Airways will add 11 new destinations – Osaka (Japan), Santorini (Greece), Dubrovnik (Croatia) Almaty and Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan), Accra (Ghana), Cebu (Philippines) , Lyon (France), Trabzon (Turkey) ,Siem Reap (Cambodia) and Luanda (Angola).
“We have already made known our plans to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier. Also, we have taken a majority holding in Rwanda’s new airport,” al-Baker said.
Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport is located south of the country’s capital Kigali.
When asked how much the Rwanda investments would be, he said: “Our investments will be what Rwanda can digest. We see Africa as a market with significant potential.”
Al-Baker said Qatar Airways remains intent on investing in Gurugram-based IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, but is waiting for the right opportunity and the resolution of a clash between existing shareholders.
“IndiGo is a good airline, professionally managed. They are also profitable. They operate many flights to Doha daily.”
Al-Baker praised China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying the Asian nation is doing a "fantastic job” in dealing with the epidemic, while suggesting that the global reaction has been "out of proportion".
He said he plans to attend next week’s Singapore Air Show regardless of the outbreak and “won’t be wearing a face mask”.
On developing Qatar’s tourism, he said: “My task (as Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) is to promote tourism, both for leisure and business.
“Qatar's tourism industry is the world's best kept secret. My duty as head of tourism council is to promote Qatar and put it strongly on the global tourism map,” al-Baker said and noted that at the ITB Berlin, “we are going to unveil tourism projects that will be built and promoted by Qatar and then handed over to the private sector.”
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