President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) Kuljit Ghata-Aura affirmed the strength of the partnership between the American company and the State of Qatar, adding that Qatar Airways was one of Boeing's most highly valued partners.
Speaking to Qatar News Agency on the sidelines of his participation in Qatar Economic Forum Powered by Bloomberg, Ghata-Aura said that the company's partnership with the state of Qatar spans over nearly two decades, with 264 employees working in Qatar and reflecting Boeing's commitment to supporting Qatar National Vision 2030.
He described the recent announcements with Qatar Airways for the new 777X freighter and 737-10 aircraft as two significant deals, adding that the company was proud to support Qatar Airways in its 25th anniversary year.
He noted that Boeing's partnership with Qatar Airways was established in May 2006, and that Qatar Airways now operates an extensive fleet of Boeing passenger and cargo airplanes.
He said that, despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic, the Group has demonstrated exceptional resilience during the crisis, and stressed that Boeing will support Qatar Airways as it reopens destinations and adds new routes to its network.
He added that Qatar Airways latest orders for 777-8 freighters and 737-10 passenger aircraft are significant for Boeing, and will the carrier with one of the most advanced and most efficient passenger and cargo fleets in the region.
He also said that these new aircraft will position the Qatar Airways for significant and sustainable growth in the future, expressing Boeing's confidence in the potential of commercial aviation in the region.
The Boeing executive noted that the company has been a research partner of the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, since 2013.
He added that the company have co-hosted six machine learning and data analytics symposiums to date.
He also said that the Qatar University College of Engineering (QU-CENG), has been one of Boeing's other important academic partners.
He highlighted that, through Boeing's support, students of the college have access to new programmes and tools to assist in the development of the Qatari aerospace sector and to encourage young Qataris to develop careers in aviation.
He added that Boeing has been collaborating with research, education and government institutions in Qatar on a range of initiatives that promote STEM education, as well as entrepreneurship, with over 5,000 students benefiting from the community engagement programs organised with the support of INJAZ Al-Arab.
On Boeing's sustainability efforts, he highlighted that achieving net zero carbon emissions is the number one challenge the aviation industry, and the world, is facing today.
He added that Boeing supports and aligns with the aviation industry goals for carbon-neutral growth from 2020 going forward and commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"Designing and building more advanced products with greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions is a key tenet of Boeing's business.
Since 2003, we have invested $60bn in new technologies to improve efficiency.
This investment helps meet aviations environmental goals and its business needs," Ghata-Aura said.
He also maintained that Boeing has a multi-faceted strategy based on three pillars to achieve the goal; continued innovation in future airplane technology, deployment of modernised air traffic management infrastructure, and the scale-up of production and use of sustainable aviation fuel.
He estimated that the airplanes the company is delivering now are as much as 25-40% more fuel-efficient than the airplanes they are replacing.
He emphasised that fully deploying the latest generation airplanes is the most significant contribution to carbon emissions reduction available over the next decade.
He added that greater networker operational efficiency is an industry-wide effort, that can contribute up to 12% reduction in emissions.
He noted that Boeing works with airlines, government customers, air navigation service providers and airports on efficiency improvements.
"These include procedures such as continuous descent approaches and equipment upgrades such as GPS-based navigation for more direct routings. We also develop services to leverage data for fuel efficiency, help customers optimise flight planning, and provide pilots with real-time weather and traffic information," he said.
Ghata-Aura also highlighted that sustainable fuels are key to long-term, large-scale CO2 emissions reductions that airplane technology alone cannot achieve, and offer the best potential to significantly reduce emissions on larger, longer-range airplanes for the next several decades.
He noted that sustainably-produced jet fuel reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 80% on a gallon for gallon basis.
Kuljit Ghata-Aura said that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is set to be one of the sporting highlights of 2022, and Boeing is very pleased to see so many of our airline customers increasing frequencies and scheduling special shuttle services to cater to the demand for reliable and convenient transport to the event.
He said that Boeing is ready to support these airline partners to ensure that teams and supporters are able to get to Qatar to enjoy the tournament.
He pointed out that Boeing's current priorities and plans will focus on keeping pace with the global economic recovery in a way that secures the transportation of customers to their various destinations safely and at the lowest cost.
He added that according to Boeing's most recent forecast, airlines in the Middle East will require 3,000 new airplanes by 2040, with the region positioned to capitalise on the recovery of regional and international travel and cargo demand.
More than two-thirds of airplane deliveries to the Middle East will accommodate growth, while one-third of deliveries will replace older airplanes with more fuel-efficient models such as the 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777X.
He said that air freight represents an ongoing area of opportunity for Middle East airlines, with the freighter fleet projected to nearly double from 80 airplanes in 2019 to 150 by 2040.
Notably, air cargo traffic flown by Middle East carriers has increased since 2020 by nearly 20%, with two of the worlds top-five cargo carriers based in the region.
In his reply on a question related to Boeing strategy amid recovery of the Covid-19 pandemic, Aura said that the aerospace industry has made important progress in the recovery from Covid-19.
The past two years have shown that passenger traffic rebounds swiftly when the flying public and governments have confidence in health and safety during air travel.
He said that the industry continues to serve an essential role of bringing people together and transporting critical supplies.
The world saw rapid traffic recovery in markets where travel restrictions have eased and Boeing expects domestic traffic to recover first, followed by regional traffic in 2023 and long-haul into 2024.
In conclusion of his statement he said that during the pandemic, Boeing supported its customers the Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) to lead the global effort to provide passengers and crew a safe, healthy and efficient travel experience.