Qatar Airways is celebrating a successful year of tremendous growth, network expansion and a record-breaking number of award wins, on top of its 20th year anniversary.
Despite a challenging regional environment, the airline continued to deliver beyond expectations throughout 2017, accelerating new routes, doubling frequencies and capacity to numerous destinations and launching its award-winning new Business Class seat, Qsuite. At a time when many airlines are scaling back, Qatar Airways continued to thrive, showcasing to the world its award-winning, best-in-class cabins, catering, in-flight entertainment, on-board magazine, lounges and more.
As we reflect on our achievements, we reaffirm our commitment to providing excellence in the skies, ensuring that our passenger’s holiday or leisure trip starts the moment they step onto one of our aircraft. We remain committed to expanding our global network, and to taking our passengers anywhere in the world.
After twenty years of service, we vow to never rest on our achievements, to focus on how we can continue to innovate, and to deliver an exceptional five-star experience to every one of our passengers, no matter what class they travel. Against the backdrop of the illegal blockade against the State of Qatar, we are more committed than ever to welcoming everyone onboard and taking them wherever they need to go.’
Qatar Airways launched 11 exciting new destinations in 2017, including the world’s longest commercial flight to Auckland, New Zealand. In addition to Chiang Mai, its fourth destination in Thailand, the airline also introduced a fifth daily non-stop service to Bangkok as well as a daily service to Krabi. In January 2018, it will commence service to Pattaya, the airline’s fifth Thai destination.
Qatar Airways will also add a new direct daily service to Hanoi, withHo Chi Minh City’s daily service increasing to ten flights a week starting 1 January 2018.
The airline also introduced its superjumbo A380 aircraft to Melbourne and will soon introduce it on its Perth route, enhancing capacity to Australia ahead of the airline’s launch of service to Canberra in 2018. Qatar Airways also proudly became the first airline ever to fly the state-of-the-art Airbus A350 to the Maldives twice daily.
Qatar Airways also doubled its frequencies to a number of destinations in Eastern Europe, the Nordics and Russia, following a significant increase in passenger demand to the popular destinations of Warsaw, Helsinki, and Moscow, with increases to Prague and Kiev following shortly after the launch of the routes themselves.
Qatar Airways launched its new Business Class seat, Qsuite, at ITB Berlin in March 2017 to outstanding global acclaim, bringing a First Class experience to the Business Class cabin. The first aircraft fully-fitted with Qsuite was launched on the Doha-London route during the summer, and was soon followed by Paris and most recently New York, with Washington soon to follow. Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, is already fast collecting awards for offering the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.
Qatar Airways enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2017, with the airline claiming more global awards than ever before in its 20th year of operations. The national carrier received more than 50 individual awards across multiple categories since January, demonstrating its continued commitment to exceeding passenger expectations with its innovative approach to product development and dedication to customer experience.
Leading the host of awards received by the airline this year is the prestigious accolade of 2017 Airline of the Year, awarded by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. Qatar Airways was also named World’s Best Business Class, Best Airline in the Middle East, and World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge at the Skytrax awards ceremony held in Paris last June.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, also received the Aviation Executive of the Year award from industry body CAPA last month, highlighting his leadership and innovative direction in guiding the growth of the airline and the wider aviation industry as a whole.
Al Baker was also elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of prestigious global aviation industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA), effective June 2018. The rotating one-year term will commence at the end of IATA’s 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Sydney and will continue until the end of its 2019 AGM.
Fleet Expansion and Acquisitions
Qatar Airways took delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2017, taking its total fleet to 212 aircraft. The airline also recently upsized an earlier order for 50 Airbus A320 neo with a firm order instead for 50 of the larger A321 neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration). The order was signed earlier this month in the presence of the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Qatar Airways also continues to forge strong partnerships around the world. In November, it announced an acquisition from fellow oneworld member Cathay Pacific, purchasing approximately 9.61% of the airline’s total issued share capital.
The airline further strengthened its commitment to Italy with the acquisition of 49% of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Meridiana, while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda has kept 51%.
In June, Qatar Airways released its annual results for the 2017 fiscal year, revealing an impressive 21.7% year-on-year net profit increase. The results also showed an annual revenue increase of 10.4%.
Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of two new Boeing 747-800 freighters and its thirteenth Boeing 777 freighter this year. In October, Qatar Airways Cargo announced Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as its latest freighter destination in the United States, making it the first international airline to commence freighter service to Pittsburgh. The cargo carrier also added Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito, Miami, Phnom Penh and Yangon to its dedicated freighter network in 2017, strengthening its commitment to supporting the global air trade and supply chain industry.
Qatar Airways Cargo’s continuous investment in ground infrastructure has proven its capability and capacity to accommodate increased demand since the diplomatic blockade on the State of Qatar began in June. The cargo carrier opened two new facilities during the summer, its dedicated Climate Control Centre and Cargo Overflow structure, providing close to an additional 10,000 sqm of temperature-controlled handling space to manage an increase in food imports into Qatar.
Qatar Airways Cargo recorded high volumes, revenues, yields and market shares in 2017, and was the only international cargo carrier with significant growth in freight tonnes kilometres (FTK) this year.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Sponsorships
Corporate Social Responsibility remained an important part of Qatar Airways’ values in 2017. The airline renewed its sponsorship as Official Airline Partner to Orbis UK for three more years. The airline has been a proud sponsor of Orbis and its blindness prevention programme since 2012. Qatar Airways also continued to be a proud supporter of the Educate-A-Child programme, which helps provide quality primary school education to millions of out-of-school children globally.
Qatar Airways was also announced as an Official Partner and Official Airline of FIFA, as part of a groundbreaking sponsorship package lasting through 2022. Upcoming events sponsored by Qatar Airways will include the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. As an Official Partner of FIFA, Qatar Airways will have extensive marketing and branding rights at the next two FIFA World Cups, with an expected audience reach of more than two billion people per tournament. The airline will also have visibility at competitions such as the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the FIFA Futsal World Cup and the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the world’s largest online gaming tournament.
Qatar Airways also responded to demand from passengers seeking to transport their pets around the world, reducing the price to the lowest rates ever in and out of Doha. As the only airline that will carry pets as excess baggage to and from Qatar, the airline significantly reduced the cost of travelling with a pet.
Qatar Airways looks ahead with excitement to 2018, when it will launch a host of more exciting new destinations. The airline will also be the global launch customer and launch operator of Airbus A350-1000 in 2018. For more information about Qatar Airways and the various destinations it currently serve, visit their website at qatarairways.com.