Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : January February 2010 Contents 51
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
a premium carrier, although Al Baker says
that this extends beyond its first and busi-
ness class cabins. "We don't forget people
who can ill afford the premium classes and
travel at the back of the aeroplane," he said.
As an example, on its 777-200LRs which
operate the Melbourne services, the econo-
my class seats feature a roomy 34in (86cm)
pitch, although the airline claims that the
seat design effectively gives passengers an
additional 8cm of leg room. Interestingly,
the inflight entertainment is the same as
in business class, with over 900 audio and
video on demand options available through
its Oryx Entertainment system.
However, Al Baker adds that comes
at a price to travellers. "Don't expect to
travel cheap on my aeroplane. Our price
out of Melbourne is substantially higher
than our competition because we have a
In business, the carrier offers 1.92m lie-
flat beds in a 2+2+2 configuration with a
78in (1.98m) pitch, while Al Baker claims
that the seat is also 5cm wider than com-
peting business class seats. Naturally, the
service includes a wide selection of meals
Qatar's approach appears to be paying
off, with the carrier receiving a number of
awards for its product, with the greatest
being its retention of a five star Skytrax rat-
ing. "We are the only carrier in the Middle
East which has a five star ranking, and we
have had this rating for the last five years,"
said Al Baker.
In addition to this, the airline has
recently launched Qatari Executive, which
currently operates two Bombardier Chal-
lenger 605s and one Challenger 300 for
executive charter services, while it also has
an Airbus A319CJ which is primarily used
by the Qatari Royal Family.
Finally, one very unique type to wear the
distinctive Qatar Airways livery is a Boeing
C-17 military airlifter. e C-17 is one of
two recently delivered to the Qatar Emiri
Air Force (the other is painted in military
grey), and wears the Qatar Airways livery
to highlight the nation's participation in
international humanitarian aid, disaster
relief and peacekeeping missions.
As Qatar Air ways has grown its network,
the traffic through its hub airport at Doha
has also surged to the point where develop-
ment of a new airport is currently underway.
Unlike many other hub airports, Doha
has somewhat failed to keep up with
modern times. e terminal does not have
aerobridges, meaning that passengers must
be bussed to aircraft parked on remote
stands. Nevertheless, the Qatari govern-
ment has invested well over US$1 billion
to modernise its terminals to meet the
increase in traffic.
is includes the recent expansion of the
airline's 10,000m2 premium terminal where
first and business class passengers are able
to complete all their requirements prior to
boarding. Originally opened in 2006, the
terminal expansion was completed in 2009,
and it features a number of luxury appoint-
ments including spas, gyms, saunas, restau-
rants and a dedicated children's play area.
But with the massive growth planned for
the airline over the next few years, Qatar
has followed in the footsteps of Dubai
and in 2005 started construction of its
US$14.5bn (A$15.9bn) New Doha Inter-
national Airport (NDIA) project. e new
airport is being built adjacent to the current
airport on land partially reclaimed from the
Gulf, and will help to cater for the expected
rise in traffic the carrier is planning for over
the next five years and beyond.
Fittingly, the NDIA project is being
managed by Al Baker. Significantly, phases
have been consolidated to ensure that the
airport is able to open in 2011 and be ready
from the start to accommodate Qatar Air-
ways's growing fleet and network.
e new airport will feature a 219,000m2
terminal with capacity of 24 million pas-
RECENTLY ARRIVED Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is flanked by senior vice president commercial
operations Marwan Koleilat (left) and the Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events Tim Holding, at the
airline's launch press conference in Melbourne on December 7. (Qatar Airways)
FIVE STAR Qatar prides itself on its Skytrax five star rating. Pictured is business class on a 777-200LR.
"Don't expect to travel cheap on my aeroplane.
Our price out of Melbourne is substantially higher
because we have a superior product."
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