Region sees rapid rise in air travel: PM

 03 Jun 2014 - 3:23

The Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the Prime Minister and Interior Minister, H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, at the opening session of IATA’s 70th annual general meeting and World Air Transport Summit at the Ritz-Carlton, Doha, yesterday. 

DOHA: The civil aviation sector of the Arab region has witnessed a rapid growth over the last two decades with the air carriers of the region currently transporting over 12 percent of global air traffic from just three percent 20 years ago, the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani said in his opening address at the IATA’s 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit yesterday.
The coveted event, which is being held for the first time in the GCC region and third time in the Arab world, was graced with the presence of the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The premier appreciated the key role played by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) General Assembly, which contributed effectively to the enormous progress made by the aviation industry. “The airlines in the world can continue their march towards absolute safety, and upgrade the level of operational performance and increase awareness of all stakeholders of the importance of air transport in the sustainable development process and making the world a global village in the very sense of the word”, said the Prime Minister.
He said that holding of this conference in Doha comes in response to the pivotal role played by the Arab region, especially the Gulf states, in air transport network in the world.
Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways (QA), is the official host of the IATA’s AGM. Over 1,000 industry leaders, including more than 240 CEOs of international airlines from around the world are discussing some of the key issues and challenges face by the industry, including passengers rights and safety, growing air space congestion, and ways and means to advance air travel experience and service standards.
Commenting about the national carrier, the premier said: “Qatar Airways’ fleet is one of the newest in the world, and of the highest technology, and most distinguished in services, and the least harmful to the environment.”
He said that QA, once a small national carrier, has now grown by many fold, in terms of the number of aircraft and passengers, to become a truly global airline with highest possible service quality and passenger satisfaction.
“The QA has become one of the most qualitative airline and the fastest growing carrier in the world. In 2000, QA owned only seven aircraft, which has now grown to 136 with an average fleet-age of less than five years.”
Speaking about the newly-opened Hamad International Airport (HIA), the premier said that HIA offers the global travellers the model of easy movement and the diversity of services. Once all the phases are fully complete, it would become one of the world’s leading airports providing excellent services to over 50 million passengers.
“We look forward to the aviation sector as an important economic catalyst, providing employment to skilled workforce and serving as a tool for supporting the culture of communication and understanding between peoples,” said the prime minister.
Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA, during a press conference, said that there are three fastest growing airlines in the region, and Qatar Airways is one of them.The Peninsula