Qatar Airways’s Group chief executive and secretary-general of Qatar National Tourism Council, Akbar al-Baker said that Qatar will receive ‘massive’ tourism infrastructure investments in the near future.
“It is an invitation to any investor who wants to come to Qatar and invest. We guarantee tax exemptions…we guarantee repatriation of profits. We guarantee their investments. Qatar has a very friendly business regime in place. And it is exactly what investors look at,” the Qatar Airways CEO said.
“So, as Qatar has such big plans to expand its tourism sector, there are many opportunities that will be available,” Mr. al-Baker noted.
On how Qatar is ready to present the ‘best ever’ FIFA World Cup tournament in 2022, he said, “Qatar is very much on the delivery of the FIFA 2022. We also want to deliver the best tournament ever happened in the world. You know several of our stadiums are already ready.
“Most of the road infrastructure has been completed. The Doha Metro, built in record time, is already fully functional. All the infrastructure accommodation facilities will be ready – one year ahead of time.
“In addition to this, we are also having a major expansion at Hamad International Airport (HIA). This started only four months ago. And we are expecting that it will be delivered on the deadline by June 2022. So, we are all ready.”
He said Qatar Airways’ mixed fleet of aircraft “gives us the edge over competitors who only have one or two types of aircraft.”
“Because we have different sizes of aircraft, it gives us that edge over other people that have only one or two types of airplanes. We have a mix of Boeing 787s, Airbus 350-900s and 350-1000s, Boeing 777-300s, and 777-200s. So depending upon what is the demand, we can rotate the capacity.
“And this gives Qatar Airways the resilience it has when it is competing at this difficult period of time,” the airline boss said.
Al-Baker also explained how Qatar Airways had “proven its reliability” to passengers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When all the airlines of the world grounded their airplanes, we considered it as an opportunity for us to continue. We decided that we will shrink our network, reduce frequencies, park airplanes, but we will still continue to use at least 50% to 60% of the capacity available to us, both for passengers and cargo,” he said.
Qatar Airways, al-Baker said, has been a “pioneer” in delivering millions of tonnes of cargo to all over the world, and at the same time, carrying 2.1mn passengers “safely” to their homes.
“And this has also given us a lot of goodwill of the people…because they were all stranded (all over the world) and we were the only reliable partner that will carry them.
“And one another important thing with it…. We paid back every single dollar of ticket refund to passengers. Qatar Airways wanted to show to the people that we are a very robust company and they can rely on us. And in this, we have come out with flying colors,” al-Baker stated.