Qatar Airways published its annual report for 2018-2019, highlighting the group’s success and underlying robust financial health in the face of continued illegal airspace blockade against the State of Qatar.

Overall revenue and other operating income grew by 14% annually. Passenger revenue grew by 14.3% with capacity (Available Seat Kilometres) growth of 13.5%. Cargo revenue witnessed growth of 16.8% with cargo capacity (Available Tonne Kilometres) growing 11.8% annually. Executive jet revenue also witnessed substantial growth of 18.4% in comparison to previous year.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, said that 2018-2019 has been a year of achievement in the face of adversity for Qatar Airways. He said that despite facing challenges that are unparalleled in the airline industry, he is very proud that they have grown their fleet, expanded their network and seen overall revenue increase to QAR48 billion (US$13.2 billion), a rise of 14%. Passenger numbers are up, capacity as measured by available seat kilometres has risen and the Cargo business is now the largest in the world.

2018-19 was nonetheless a challenging year and while it is disappointing that the Group has registered a net loss of QAR2.3 billion (USD 639 million) – attributable to the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations – the underlying fundamentals of our business remain extremely robust.

Our success is due to an unwavering belief in our strategy to give our passengers the very best, backed by the perseverance and hard work of our staff. I look forward to 2019-2020 with optimism and confidence that our growth will continue and we will serve even more countries around the world.’

The airline launched 11 new destinations during the fiscal year 2019 and has now added a total of 31 (as of 1 September 2019) since the start of the illegal blockade, growing its network to over 160 gateways around the world.

The airline’s fleet grew by 25 aircraft to a point where it welcomed its 250th aircraft in March 2019. With more than 300 aircrafts worth more than US$85 billion on order (including options and Letters of Intent) the group has the capacity to continue its ambitious but sustainable network expansion strategy.

During the financial year, the Group has further built its investment portfolio by acquiring 5% of the total issued share capital of China Southern Airlines. This shareholding sits alongside its existing holdings in airlines including Air Italy, Cathay Pacific, IAG, JetSuite and LATAM.

Overall, QR Group invested QAR16.1 billion (US$4.4 billion) in acquisition of aircraft and other assets as well as acquisition of shares of international airlines during the year.

2018-2019 was also a year where the airline won dozens of awards, including two awards from Skytrax – ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’; Trip Advisor – ‘World’s Best Business Class’; and Business Traveller – ‘Best Long-Haul Airline’ and ‘Best Business Class’, among many others.

Qatar Airways Group’s sponsorship with FIFA remained the core of its sponsorship portfolio and 2018 produced the undoubted highlight of the sporting calendar at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Alongside the addition of multi-year partnerships with Bayern München AG, AS Roma, Boca Juniors and the Brooklyn Nets, sports sponsorships remain a key pillar to augment the airline’s commitment to bring people and communities together from across the globe.

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