Qatar Executive is investing in the development of a private jet terminal at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The opening of the new gateway for airline service has been delayed, following a failure to achieve the planned “soft opening” on April 1, but this appears not to be holding back plans to serve business aviation traffic there.
“The opening of Hamad International Airport will…begin a new chapter for commercial aviation, [and] also position the State of Qatar as a leading center for business aviation,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo show in March. “The new facility will be one of the world’s most prestigious and technologically advanced FBOs and [will] open by 2015.”
Qatar Executive (Booth 382) is the flag carrier’s private aviation division, with growing activities in aircraft charter, management and handling. For now, business aviation traffic uses the existing Doha International Airport, where handling is available from another Qatar Airways subsidiary, Qatar Aviation Services.
Currently, Qatar Executive operates six wholly owned jets in an all-Bombardier fleet consisting of three Challenger 605s, two Global 5000s and a Global Express XRS. “In response to the growing trend for long-range travel, Qatar Executive is looking [to expand] its fleet and is [continually conducting] negotiations on aircraft orders,” said Al Baker. “Our fleet expansion 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.”
Africa increasingly is figuring prominently in Qatar Executive’s flight profile and the company says underdeveloped business travel on the continent compared with other regions makes customers welcome the opportunity to use its services. “Qatar Executive is geographically [well] located to take advantage of different global traffic flows. From the Gulf, our long-range business aircraft can fly to virtually any city in Africa, especially the oil-rich countries on the west coast, like Nigeria and Angola,” Al Baker said. Qatar Executive also caters to leisure travelers who fly to African tourist centers such as Tanzania or Botswana for safaris.
Qatar Executive is also positioning itself as a leading provider for charters for large groups traveling to Doha. “With Qatar being one of the world’s leading sports hubs that have high economic activity, we have been experiencing huge demand in this segment and can offer narrowbody Airbus A320s in a two-class configurations–for example, for sports teams, business delegations and even musicians and orchestras,” said Al Baker.