The only big-three Middle East airline player to have an executive jet operation, Qatar Executive is expanding its fleet, preparing for the opening of its FBO at New Doha International Airport in 2014, and increasing destination options for its customers. To date, the UAE’s Emirates airline and Etihad Airways have given no indication of following suit.
“Our growth is fueled by an increasing desire for on-demand private jet travel in the Middle East, Asia, Russia and, increasingly, Africa,” said CEO of Qatar Executive and of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker. “As part of our expansion strategy, we will see more world-class private jets join our fleet and invest more in brand-new facilities, some of which will be opened in the near future.”
Qatar Executive operates six wholly owned all-Bombardier corporate jets: three Challenger 605s, two Global 5000s and a Global Express XRS. Last May, it announced plans to purchase Bombardier 7000/8000s. “This move will ensure that we continue to offer one of the best available products in the region and worldwide, while keeping our fleet young and modern,” said Al Baker.
The company spent 2012 increasing its core business of aircraft charters, as well as large-airliner charter, aircraft management, maintenance and FBO services at Doha International Airport. Maintenance operations were augmented in March when Bombardier appointed Qatar Executive as an authorized service facility, enabling it to carry out scheduled maintenance, repair and warranty services at its dedicated 6,400 sq m hangar in Doha for the Challenger 300, Challenger 604/605 and the Global family of aircraft.
While noting the enhancement of its current facilities, Al Baker described the future FBO at New Doha International Airport as likely to be “one of the most advanced and prestigious facilities” of its kind anywhere in the world. “The construction of the facility is expected to be finalized over the next couple of years,” he said. “Until that time, all business jets are served at our at Doha International Airport FBO, which will shortly be upgraded into a truly luxurious facility.”
Whether Qatar Executive’s client base of ultra-high-net-worth individuals choose vacation travel to resorts in the Maldives, the Seychelles or to Mauritius, or its business traveler customers intent on saving time and money on routes throughout the Middle East, Africa and Russia, “a bespoke in-flight product and impeccable service” are the keys to client retention, Al Baker told AIN. “While price is not so much an issue, customers are very travel-savvy and are looking for value for money even at the luxury end of the scale,” he added.
Qatar Executive is not the only beneficiary of Al Baker’s desire for international alliances. A deal signed in May with Bombardier partner Flexjet allows premium travelers to Qatar Airway’s four North American gateways–Houston, New York, Washington and Montreal–to connect to Flexjet’s private jet services, a network giving access to 5,000 destinations in the U.S. and beyond, a much bigger array than the 500 airports served by commercial airlines.
Qatar Executive’s Global 5000 aircraft is on static display at MEBA 2012. “We are [participating] at the MEBA exhibition…to demonstrate Qatar Executive’s commitment to the Middle East’s buoyant business jet market, which is continuously leading the way in the global aviation industry,” concluded Al Baker.