*1000 days to 2022 – Qatar's strides in aviation
Qatar Airways, the country’s national carrier and flag-bearer, continues to fly high after a successful year of strong network expansion, new aircraft deliveries and the unique achievement as the only airline to win the Skytrax Award for the World’s Best Airline for a fifth time in 2019.
The Five-star Hamad International Airport (HIA), home to Qatar Airways, has undertaken an expansion to meet the growing demand for air travel, enhance its position as the preferred gateway for travel and transit and to accommodate the growth of the national carrier.
The national airline continued its strategy of investing in the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft to drive its ambitious route network growth.
Through the course of 2019, some 32 aircraft were delivered to its Doha headquarters, including its 250th, an Airbus A350-900 in March. By end-2019, the total combined fleet size of passenger, cargo and Qatar Executive (QE) was 259 with more than 170 destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways has more than 290 aircraft on order, which are currently worth over $82bn, group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker told Gulf Times in Doha recently.
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 said.
The national airline has already made known its plans to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier. Also, it plans to take a majority holding in Rwanda’s new Bugesera International Airport, which is located south of the country’s capital Kigali.
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).
This week, Qatar Airways signed a significant codeshare agreement with American Airlines in a move that will increase commercial co-operation, bolster connectivity and create hundreds of new travel options for millions of customers.
The new agreement will establish a partnership at a global level between two of the world’s most connected airlines, linking some of the largest airport hubs in the US to the HIA in Doha, voted the Middle East’s best hub and holder of a place in the world’s top five airports for the last three years.
Following the reactivation of the codeshare, both airlines will also explore the opportunity for American Airlines to operate flights between the US and Qatar, along with a number of joint commercial and operational initiatives to further strengthen this renewed partnership.
The HIA is focused on increasing its operational capacity through its major expansion project, which is a vital part of the airport's rapid growth and the country’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup and beyond.
The HIA announced its multi-phased airport expansion plan in 2019. Phase A is set to comprise a central concourse linking concourses D and E, and will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53mn passengers annually by 2022.
The airport served a record 38,786,422 passengers in 2019, the most since its start of operations in 2014.
Eight new passenger destinations were added to the HIA’s global network in 2019: Davao, the Philippines; Rabat, Morocco; Izmir, Turkey; Gaborone, Botswana; Langkawi, Malaysia; Mogadishu, Somalia; Malta; and Lisbon, Portugal.
Three new cargo destinations were also added to the network: Istanbul, New York and Almaty.
Some 15 airlines operating at the HIA increased their weekly flight frequencies, including Kuwait Airways, Salam Air, Philippine Airlines, Oman Air and Air India Express. The airport also welcomed two new airline partners, namely Air India and Tarco Aviation. This led to the HIA handling a total of 232,917 aircraft movements in 2019, which was 5.57% more than the previous year.
Last week, the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management – MATAR – announced the HIA's multi-phased expansion project plans and the contracting companies and multiple joint ventures, which have been awarded expansion projects.
The five contracting companies and joint ventures awarded HIA expansion projects include the joint venture of Midmac Contracting, TAV Tepe Akfen Investment Construction and Taisei Corporation (MTT), the joint venture of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Teyseer Contracting Company (TCC) and the joint venture of Urbacon Trading & Contracting, Bahadir Construction and Tedeschia Construction Enterprises (UBT) as well as Beumer Doha and Al Jaber Engineering Company.
The Western Taxiway & Stand Development Works contract, Package-0012, was awarded in October 2019 to the joint venture of UBT.
The Passenger Terminal Expansion Works and Central Concourse Building and Early Works (PTEW) were awarded to the joint venture of Midmac Contracting, TAV Tepe Akfen Investment Construction and Taisei Corporation. The contract, Package-0013, was awarded in November 2019 and commenced shortly after.
The project will include an additional 140,000 sq m terminal building, located airside, adjoining the existing terminal building through Concourse C with an axis that will culminate into a central garden. It will include a new transfer area which will help shorten passengers’ connection time and will improve their overall transfer experience at the HIA. This will also contribute to servicing the continued growth of Qatar Airways.