India on Qatar Airways’ radar

Among the various business development plans of Qatar Airways, Group Chief Executive H.E. Akbar Al Baker shares that they will be starting a five-star airline in India. Excerpts from the interview.

SHEHARA RIZLY

Q) How is your investment in India coming along?

We have not yet made a formal application, but have sounded out the authorities and they are very receptive. They have passed their new policy and Qatar Airways will take advantage of this opportunity. Our investment in India is to serve the Indian people and not to serve anybody else. We will create jobs, provide better connectivity and I promise a five-star product which will cater the financial abilities of every Indian individual who wants to do air travel. In a few weeks, the application will be submitted. It will be a joint application from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Qatar Airways. It will have an Indian name for the carrier and consist of 100 aircraft. We will adhere as per all Indian rules and regulations.

Q) What are the current challenges you are facing in the aviation industry?

Whatever the challenges the industry faces and in particular Qatar Airways faces, we will continue to grow and expand our presence as we have been very successful. You already noticed that while all other airlines are shrinking and reducing capacity Qatar Airways is ordering more aircraft and announcing new destinations. We see a lot of opportunity in every economic downturn and at Qatar Airways we are very smart at tapping those opportunities and this is exactly what we are doing all the time. Very soon, we will be announcing a record profit, which will be the highest Qatar Airways has ever made We are short of nearly 11 aircraft which have been delayed in the process. If those aircraft are delivered all the new 26 destinations will be fulfilled before the end of the Qatar Airways financial year ending in March 2018.

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