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7JetSet7 Code: QTA
Status: Operational
City: DOHA
Country: QATAR
Employees 15000
Telephone: +974 449 6000
Fax: +974 462 1533

Click below for data links:
QTA-2003-12-F A380 ORDER
QTA-2004-11 A330-303
QTA-2005-01 A380 ORDERS
QTA-2005-11-C A350 ORDER
QTA-2006-01-LARGE F
QTA-2007-04 INCDT A300
QTA-2013-05 - 777X UPDATE
QTA-2013-05 - 787 RESUMES DOHA - LHR
QTA-2013-11 - TO RIO
QTA-2014-03-A-A380 FIRST CLASS
QTA-2014-05-BUSINESS A319
QTA-2014-07-A380 NO SHOW
QTA-2014-09 - 1ST A380
QTA-2014-12 - 1ST DELIVERY A350 XWB
QTA-2014-12 - A350 XWB DELIVERY
QTA-2014-12 BAB MAINT 787 A380
QTA-2015-12 - Doha to Nagpur.jpg
QTA-2016-02 - Doha to Ras Al Khaimah.jpg
QTA-2016-03 - 777-300 Doha to Sydney.jpg
QTA-2017-03 - Laptop Loan Offer.jpg
QTA-2017-06 - QSuite Club Four-D.jpg
QTA-2017-06 - QSuite twin seat-C.jpg
QTA-2017-06 - QSuite twinbed-B.jpg
QTA-2017-06 - QSuite-A.jpg
QTA-2017-08 - Doha to Kiev Boryspil.jpg
QTA-2017-08 - Doha to Prague.jpg
QTA-2017-12 Qatar to St Petersburg.jpg
QTA-2018-04 777FDZ Order.jpg
QTA-2018-05 Doha to Cardiff, Wales.jpg
QTA-2018-05 Doha to Mykonos.jpg
QTA-2018-09 Qatar Cargo Abu Dhabi.jpg
QTA-Business Class Q Suite - 2017-03.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendant 2018-03 pa.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendant 2018-08 aa.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendant 2018-08 pp.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendants - 2015-06.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendants - 2016-02-B.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendants - 2017-08.jpg
QTA-Cabin Attendants at Durban - 2015-12.jpg
QTA-FC A380 2018-09.jpg
QTA-Flight Crew 2018-09.jpg
QTA-LOGO - 2013-05
QTA-ROUTE MAP - 2013-11


PO BOX 22550

Qatar was established in 1971, it covers an area of 11,437 sq km, its population is 618,000, its capital city is Doha, and its official language is Arabic. In recent years, Qatar has modernized very rapidly, being funded by oil, and the world's largest natural gas field. Qatar is where "Al Jazeera," the powerful, global Arabic-language, TV news network is based.

Situated halfway up the western shore of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar is almost completely surrounded by sea. It borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the south, and Bahrain in the northwest. Well-preserved natural and historical sites, coupled with top-caliber business, sports, dining, shopping, and accommodation facilities, render Qatar the perfect gateway to the Arabian Gulf. The commercial and administrative center, Doha, hosts the international airport, seaport, hotels, and sports facilities. Doha is built around a beautiful bay, along which there is a 7 km long corniche lined with lush gardens. Today, Doha's cosmopolitan spirit strikes a perfect balance with its rich cultural and religious heritage. Qatar's economy is very strong, due to its abundance of oil and natural gas reserves. This means that there is significant ongoing investment being made into the local infrastructure to support high standards of living and the successful development of tourism. The terrain is generally flat. However, there are some hills and sand dunes, which reach an altitude of 40 meters above sea level in the areas of Dukhan and Jebel Fuwairit in the western and northern parts of the country and Khor Al-Udeid in the south. Qatar has a desert climate of hot summers and relatively warm winters. In the summer, the temperature ranges between 25 and 46 degrees centigrade. Rainfall in the winter is minimal, and on average, does not exceed 75.2 mm per year.

The Qataris are descended through ancient Arabian lines of kinship. This is due to the country's geographical location and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, on one hand, and to the close historical heritage, which the State shares with the rest of the States of the Arabian peninsula, on the other. The present population is estimated at 900,000 inhabitants, most of whom reside in Doha, the capital city.
The rest of the population is scattered among a number of towns and villages including Dukhan, Mesaieed, Al-Wakrah, Al-Khor, Madinat Al-Shamal, and other modern residential centers. Islam is the official religion of the State of Qatar and Shari'a (Islamic Law) is the principal source of legislation in the country, while Arabic is the official language.

In spite of the changes that took place in the world oil market in 1991, as a result of the conditions that prevailed in 1990, notably the Gulf crisis; the disintegration of the Soviet Union, increased concern over environment protection, and continued effort by industrial nations to rationalize energy consumption, Qatar's national economy has once again lent proof to the vitality and soundness of its basic structure and ability to stand firm in the face of an unstable world economy. Qatar's enormous gas reserves have been the main source of national income. Since the inauguration of the new oil refinery in 1983, the country has realized self sufficiency in oil products. It is worth mentioning that Qatar has one of the world's 3 largest gas reserves and (LNG) export began at the end of the 1996. However, the State has not confined its aspirations just to that. It has been following a policy based on the principle of diversifying the sources of national income through expanding industrial and agricultural production bases, developing human resources, assigning a bigger role to the private sector, working to realize a surplus in the balance of payments by increasing exports and decreasing imports, and reducing the State's national budget deficit by applying necessary financial and monetary policies and corrective program, in order to achieve reasonable growth rates.

Today, a number of international companies and agencies have begun opening branches in Qatar, aware that it is a profitable and efficient place to do business and take advantage of the tremendous opportunities.



FEBRUARY 1995: 1 727-200A (JT8D-17R), EX-YEMENIA (YEM).

MAY 1995: 2 727-200'S, EX-EMIRATES (EAD).

JUNE 1995: 2 747SR-81'S (CF6-45A2), EX-ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA).



JANUARY 1996: 1995 = +393.6% (RPK) (TRAFFIC), +36.6% PASSENGERS (PAX), +74.2% (FTK) (FREIGHT TRAFFIC).



JUNE 1996: 747SP TRANSFERRED TO (QAT). 1 727-200 (JT8D-17R) (22425), EX-MEXICANA (CMA), (GUI) LEASED.

OCTOBER 1996: 727-200 (22425), EX-MEXICANA (CMA) DELIVERY (4TH 727).







1 727-200 (JT8D-17), (TSI) LEASED. 2 A300-600R'S (664; 668), EX-GARUDA INDONESIA (GIA), ANSETT WORLD WIDE (AWW) LEASED.




727-200 (22425) SOLD TO VASP (VSP).




JANUARY 1998: 1 ORDER A320-200.






JULY 1998: 6/5 ORDERS A320-200 (V2500) (2001), 4 ORDERS A320-200 (V2500) (928; 932; 943; 977) (1999), (SALE) (SIL) LEASED, 12 FIRST (F), 132 ECONOMY (Y) PAX.


FEBRUARY 1999: TO LAHORE (727-200).


MARCH 1999: 727'S & 747'S FOR SALE. 2ND A320 DELIVERY.



2 747SR'S (21604; 21605) PARTED OUT. 3RD A320-232 (943, A7-ABT) DELIVERY.


1998 = 869,000 PASSENGERS (PAX) (+35%).

727-294 (22044) LEASED TO SAFAIR (SFA).




A300-622R (688), (AWAS) (AWW) LEASED.




DECEMBER 2000: 2 A300-600R'S (PW4158) (479; 554), EX-KOREAN (KAL). 1 A319-133X (V2527M-A5) (1335, A7-ABZ) DELIVERY.


FEBRUARY 2001: $1 BILLION, 5/3 ORDERS A330-200'S, & 2/2 ORDERS A380'S.

MARCH 2001: 1 A300B4-622R (560), EX-KOREAN AIR (KAL). 1 A310-300 (588, C-GLAT) TO AIR TRANSAT (AIJ).



JULY 2001: 2 727-200'S (21951; 22982) SOLD TO PEGASUS (PSS).




DECEMBER 2001: 1 A320-232 (1648, A7-ADB) DELIVERY.


1 ORDER (FEBRUARY 2003) A320 (V2500).



+1 ORDER (FEBRUARY 2004) A330.


1,510 EMPLOYEES. (


MAY 2002: 1 A330-200 DELIVERY.


July 2002: 1 A300BR-622R, ex-Korean Air (KAL), to be converted to freighter.

August 2002: In October 2002, to Sharjah (A321, 2x-weekly).

A300B4-622R (614), ex-Korean Air (KAL). A330-203 (487, A7-HJJ), delivery, to be converted to (VIP).

September 2002: In November 2002, to Hyderabad (2x-weekly).

October 2002: Qatar Airways (QTA) is managing the development, and construction has started on a new, $1 Billion, Doha International airport, which is to be completed in time for the Asian Games in December 2006.

November 2002: In March 2003, to Manchester (A300-600, 2x-weekly). Indicates its willingness to operate to Palaly/Kankesanturai (Jaffna), thereby becoming the 1st international airline to serve the airport in Sri Lanka's war-torn north (currently under a cease fire).

A300B4-622R (611), (AWW) leased.

December 2002: In March 2003, Doha to Cochin (3x-weekly).

January 2003: In April 2003, Doha to Manchester (4x-weekly).

February 2003: In March 2003, Doha to Islamabad (2x-weekly). In June 2003, Doha to Rome (FCO) to Milan (2x-weekly).

Confirms 2nd order (June 2003) for A319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) configured with 110 PAX, 2 class for long range operations. A330-203 (511, A7-ACC), delivery.

April 2003: 2,100 employees. (

Upgraded from Shepherd Systems Market Impact System to MarketMaster for its internet-based market intelligence system.

A300B4-622R (613), ex-Air Alpha (ALV), Ansett Worldwide (AWW) leased. 4th A330-203 (521, A7-ACD) and 9th A320-232 deliveries. 1 order (February 2005) A330-200 (CF6-80).

May 2003: In August 2003, Doha to Moscow (SVO) (3x-weekly).

June 2003: Doha to Rome, with continuing service to Milan (A300-600, 2x-weekly nonstop) and Doha to Milan, with continuing service to Rome (A300-600, 2x-weekly nonstop). Doha to Basra (2x-weekly).

A300-600R delivery, its 1st dedicated cargo airplane, converted to F for $10 Million by Elbe Flugzeugweke GmbH in Dresden, 20 days ahead of schedule. Qatar Airways (QTA) plans to buy +2 additional freighters within 2 years. Hopes to increase cargo growth rates in the coming year around +35%, using cargo terminal expansion at Doha, which will increase annual capacity to 180,000 tons. (QTA) will enhance their relationship with shippers and forwarders to establish Doha as a regional cargo hub. Plans to extend its network from 40 to 50 cities and grow the fleet from 23 Airbus airplanes to 28 by end of 2003. It recently added routes to Manchester, Rome, Kochi and Basra.

Paris Air Show announcement of $5.1 Billion for orders, options & leases of 34 Airbus airplane: 2 orders A321's (V2500), 10 orders A330-200 (CF6-80E1), including 2 (GEF) leased, 6 orders A330-300 (CF6-80E1), plus 6 options A330-200/-300, and 2/2 orders A340-600 (HGW). As the new airplanes arrive within the next 5 years, the A300B4-622R's will be phased out.

July 2003: 1,350 employees. SITA: DOHAZQR.


August 2003: Doha to Basra (A300-600, weekly). In October 2003, Doha to Tripoli (3x-weekly). Doha to Shanghai (3x-weekly). Doha to Seoul (3x-weekly). In November 2003, (Doha) to Munich to Vienna (A300-600, 3x-weekly).

September 2003: Doha to Amsterdam (A300-600F, 4x-weekly). Code share with Alitalia (ALI), Milan (MXP)/Rome (FCO) to Doha.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will spend >QAR 140 Million this year to expand the arrivals & departures terminal at Doha, increasing the capacity of the airport from 4.2 Million passengers to 7.5 Million passengers.

2002 = 6.20 Billion (RPK) traffic (+66.4%); +57% (ASK) capacity; 68% LF load factor (+3.9); 2.5 Million passengers (PAX) (+56.3%); 198 Million (FTK) freight traffic (+54.6%); 2,500 employees (+19%).

Qatar Airways (QTA) commits to a safety audit under (IATA) (ITA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) which enables airlines to review their safety processes using a worldwide standard. The audit will assess an airline's operational management and control systems, "including the areas of corporate organization and management, flight operations, operational control, flight dispatch, airplane engineering & maintenance, cabin operations, airplane ground handling, cargo operations, and operational security." (AQS) GmbH of Germany and United Airlines are the 1st 2 organizations to become accredited auditors.

91 (BMA) 6.56; 92 (LNK) 6.41; 93 (RAM) 6.38; 94 (BTA) 6.36; 95 (QTA) 6.20; 96 (COI) 5.96; 97 (EGF) 5.94; 98 (LOT) 5.87; 99 (FRO) 5.49; 100 (WJI) 5.49.

A340-541 (495) delivery.

October 2003: Freighter service, Amsterdam to Doha (4x-weekly) to Delhi (3x-weekly) and Chennai (2x-weekly) (A300-600F).

Doha to Shanghai (A330-200, 3x-weekly), with onward service to Seoul. In November 2003, Doha to Vienna, via Munich (A300-600, 3x-weekly). Doha to Tripoli. In December 2003, Doha to Singapore with continuing service to Cebu (A330-200, 3x-weekly).

A320-232 (2097, A7-ADF) delivery.

November 2003: Doha to Tripoli & continue to Casablanca (A300-600, 3 Class, 3x-weekly). Doha to Vienna (3x-weekly).

December 2003: Plans to build in Doha, the 1st airport designed specifically to accommodate the new A380-800. Work on the 5,434 acre site located to the east of the existing Doha International Airport, will take place in 3 stages between 2004 and 2015. Phase 1 costing $2 Billion, is scheduled for completion by late 2008 or early 2009, including 2 new runways, a terminal building, an airport hotel, 25,000 sq m/269,100 sq ft of retail and lounge amenities and a new Qatar Airways (QTA) HQ building.

Cebu to Doha & Doha to Singapore (A300-600, 3x-weekly).

(GECAS) (GEF) announced it will lease 3 A330-200 airplanes to Qatar Airways (QTA). The 1st 2 airplanes enter service at QTA) in January and February 2004. The 3rd is a new airplane scheduled for delivery in June 2005.

(QTA) already leases an A320 from (GEF) and will take delivery of 2 new A330-200 airplanes on lease from (GEF) in the summer of 2004.

(QTA) is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world currently flying to 46 destinations world wide. Within the coming 2 years, the number of destinations served by Qatar Airways (QTA) is projected to rise to 60.

(QTA) presently operates 26 Airbus (EDS) airplanes and is 1 of the launch customers of the A380 'super jumbo.' (QTA) recently signed a USA$ 5.1 billion order for 34 additional Airbus (EDS) airplanes in a deal that will increase the fleet to 52 by 2008.

A320-232 (2138, A7-ADH) & A330-203 (441, A7-ACH) deliveries. 3 orders (January 2004) A330-200's, (GECAS) (GEF) leased. (2/2 orders Bombardier Global Expresses for on-demand (VIP) charters.

February 2004: In June 2004, Doha to Istanbul/Luxor. In July 2004, Doha to Zurich. In November 2004, Doha to Kabul (A319/A320).

$1 Million to Singapore Technologies Aerospace for "C" checks on 4 A320's at Bournemouth Aviation Services Company.

March 2004: Code share with Lufthansa (DLH), Munich to Geneva, Frankfurt to Geneva, Frankfurt to Zurich and (DLH) code share on (QTA)'s Munich to Doha, and Frankfurt to Doha. Code share with Middle East Airlines (MEA), Beirut to Doha.

2 A320-232's (932; 943; 977) returned to (SALE) (SIL), leased to Air Deccan (DCC). A330-203 (463, A7-AFN), +1 order (2/05) A330-203 (504, A7-AFO) for total 23.

April 2004: Doha to Islamabad (2x-weekly).

A321-231 (1928, A7-ADS), DebisAirFinance (DEA) leased & A330-201 (571, A7-ACE) deliveries.

May 2004: To add 20 new destinations by 2005, bringing its network to 70 cities across 5 continents and including the USA. In June 2004, to Tehran (A320, 4x-weekly), to Luxor (A320, 4x-weekly), to Istanbul (A320, 4x-weekly), and in July 2004 to Zurich (A319, 4x-weekly), to Kabul (A320, 3x-weekly), in December 2004 to Osaka (A330-200, 4x-weekly), & to Johannesburg (A330, 4x-weekly). Code share with Thai International (TII), Doha to Bangkok. In January 2005, Doha to Johannesburg (4x-weekly nonstop).

James Hogan, VP North America Operations, ex-Emirates (EAD), US Airways (USA) & Malaysia (MAS).

2003 = 8 Billion (RPK) traffic (+41.3%); 66.4% LF load factor; 3.18 Million passengers (PAX) (+37.6%); 276.42 Million (FTK) freight traffic (+54.7%).

A321-231 (2107, A7-ADT) delivery.

June 2004: Offers connections to 14 German airports from Frankfurt and Munich through a "Fly & Rail" agreement with Deutsche Bahn, including one-ticket rail connections to 6,000 stations in Germany.

July 2004: Istanbul to Doha (3x-weekly). Zurich to Doha (4x-weekly).

August 2004: Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo division receives (ISO) 9001:2000 certification.

Switched its Moscow services from Sheremetyevo to Domodedovo.

A330-203 (605, A7-HHM) delivery.

September 2004: 2 A330-203's (612, A7-AFL; 616, A7-AFM), (GECAS) (GEF) leased.

October 2004: Code share with Yemenia (YEM), Doha to Sana'a & Sana'a to Aden to Doha. In November 2004, Doha to Beijing (A330-200, 2 class, 3x-weekly nonstop). London Gatwick to Doha (A330-200, daily). In December 2004, Doha to Mahe (Seychelles) (4x-weekly). In January 2005, Doha to Johannesburg, & Yangon (Rangoon) (A330-200, 2x-weekly). London Heathrow, Manchester to Johannesburg, Cape Town (A330-200, 2x-weekly), & London Gatwick to Johannesburg, Cape Town (A330-200, 3x-weekly).

A320-232 (2288, A7-ADJ); & A330-303 (623, A7-AEA), deliveries.

November 2004: Is talking to Boeing (TBC) about a potential order for up to 60 787's with most of them being the 787-9 stretch of the 787-8, capable of carrying 257 passengers, 3 class, up to 8,300 nm and 8 to 10 787-8's. Has asked Airbus (EDS) to defer deliveries of its 1st A380-800 from 2007, because delays in the construction of the new $5.5 Billion, Doha International Airport will not be operational until 2008.

In March 2005, Doha to Algiers, Athens, Melbourne, Osaka, & Tunis. Next summer 2005, will code share with (BMI) British Midland (BMA), London Heathrow to Osaka, Melbourne, Tunis, Algiers, Athens, & possibly New York, plus 9 onward destinations in the UK and Europe, including (BMA) connecting flights from Manchester to 3 Scottish destinations.

December 2004: Doha to Mahe, Seychelles (A320, 4x-weekly), Beijing (A330-200, 3x-weekly), & London Gatwick (A330-200, daily).

A319-133LR (2341, A7-CJB), A330-203 (638, A7-ACE) & A330-303 (637, A7-AEB) deliveries.

January 2005: +1 order A330-303 for total 12.

March 2005: Doha to Bangkok (A330-200, 2x-daily). Increased Doha to Singapore (to daily). In May 2005, Doha to Tunis and on to Algiers (A319, 3x-weekly).

April 2005: Is nearing completion of its new $18 Million maintenance hangar. The facility, the world's biggest "stretched arch" hangar, will be capable of simultaneously accommodating 2 A330's & 1 A380. Dimensions are 509 ft in length, 443 ft wide & 115 ft high at its highest point. Should be finished in June 2005.

Code share with All Nippon Airways (ANA) on (QTA) flights, Doha to Osaka and (ANA) flights Osaka Kansai to Tokyo Haneda, Fukuoka, & Sapporo.

May 2005: Is offering its premium passengers complimentary wireless Internet access at Doha International Airport in its first (F) and business class (C) lounges as well as the Oryx lounge. It will be available to economy (Y) passengers using the Al Maha Meet & Assist service. (QTA)'s first (F) & business class (C) passengers arriving at London Heathrow and Gatwick will be able to use the arrival lounges of United Airlines (UAL) & Continental Airlines (CAL), respectively.

June 2005: 2004 = 12.17 Billion (RPK) (+52.3%) (passenger traffic); +47% (ASK) (capacity); 68.7% LF (+2.4) (load factor).

3,257 employees (+29.2%) (including 340 Flight Crew (FC); 1,207 Cabin Attendants (CA); & 412 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).

Doha to Delhi (daily), its 5th Indian destination. Boosted its service to Mumbai from 6x-weekly to daily. Doha to Athens (A320, 6x-weekly nonstop). In November 2005, Doha to Nairobi (A300-600, 5x-weekly).

At Paris Air Show, announces it will shortly commit to purchase of a large fleet of A350 and 777 airplanes. The order comprises $10.5 Billion, 60 orders (February 2010) A350-800's/A350-900's (GEnx) and $4.6 Billion, "at least 20" 777's including 777-200LR's, 777-200F's, & 777-300ER's (all types - (GE90-115) engines).

September 2005: Lufthansa (DLH) Systems (LHS) will provide its Future Airline Core Environment to Qatar Airways (QTA) for reservation and passenger systems. In a statement, the companies said they viewed the selection "as the beginning of a strategic Information Technology (IT) partnership that will expand into other areas of the airline as well," such as the development and implementation of software for Qatar's Integrated Operations Control Center. Initially, (LHS) will equip all 66 stations of the Doha-based carrier with its departure control system and Qatar will implement (LHS)'s baggage reconciliation system. Also covered are introduction of e-ticketing and interlining, software for self-service check-in terminals and global network communication services at all airports served by the (QTA).

Rockwell Collins signed an agreement with Showtime Arabia to provide programming content for its Tailwind 560 satellite television system, which makes its debut on new A330 and A340 airplanes belonging to Qatar Airways (QTA).

A330-202 (684, A7-ACG), (GECAS) (GEF) leased, delivery.

October 2005: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch service between Doha and Madrid December 2, operating 3 flights per week using A300-600s.

Airbus (EDS) received formal approval from its shareholders, (EADS) and (BAE) Systems for industrial launch of the A350 on the basis of 140 "firm order commitments" from 9 customers, 1 of which is unidentified. In Washington, Airbus (EDS) (COO) Charles Champion said the company is "confident" it will reach 200 commitments by year end, while Executive VP Procurement, Henri Courpron said that all 200 will be firmed within the same time frame.

As previously announced, the airplane will be offered in 2 versions, the A350-800 seating 258 in a 3-class configuration with a range of 8,800 nm and the A350-900 seating 316 with a range of 7,500 nm. The A350-800 will enter service in mid-2010 while the larger A350-900 arrives later in the year.

Also, Rolls-Royce announced that it finally had reached agreement with Airbus (EDS) to supply a new variant of its (Trent) engine series for the A350. The (Trent 1700) will be available for A350 deliveries from mid-2011. The airframe will launch with a version of the (GEnx). To date, (GE) has captured all firm orders from identified customers, a total of 130 shipsets, plus 32 options.

Courpron said the delay in bringing Rolls (RRC) into the program was owing to both technical and commercial considerations: "We wanted to make sure we knew what Rolls (RRC) had to offer." Implying that the delay was partly due to the engine-maker's negotiating position, he said "it was not a coincidence" that Rolls (RRC) came aboard at virtually the same time Airbus (EDS) received authorization to build the jet. "We felt very comfortable going the whole way with just (GE)," he added. "We sold 140 of them without Rolls (RRC)."

The current customer list comprises Air Europa (ARE) (10), (ALAFCO) (ALF) (12), CIT (TCI) (5), GECAS (GEF) (10), Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) (5), Qatar Airways (QTA) (60), (TAM) (TPR) (8), US Airways (USA) (20) and an unidentified customer (10).

The (Trent 1700) will offer a thrust rating of 75,000 lb and will run for the 1st time in mid-2009. The 4-digit nomenclature is a departure for Rolls Royce (RRC). A spokesperson said that the (Trent 1700) is a reference to the mid-70,000-lb thrust rating, not an homage to the (Trent 700) that powers the A350's closest sibling, the A330.

"We have strong, market-leading or sole-source positions with the Trent on the A330, latest A340s and the A380, and we are equally confident that the (Trent 1700) will establish itself successfully on the A350," Rolls Royce (RRC) President Civil Aerospace, Mike Terrett said.

November 2005: Qatar Airways (QTA) and Arkia Airlines (ARK) reached an agreement that allows Arkia (ARK) passengers to fly from Tel Aviv to Amman and then connect on Qatar Airways (QTA) via Doha to destinations in Asia and Africa, according to media reports. It is the 1st such accord between Israeli and Persian Gulf airlines.

Later, Qatar Airways (QTA) denied reports that it had entered into a marketing agreement with Israel's Arkia Airlines (ARK). A senior (QTA) official said, "We deny this. We have not been in any discussions with this company and no agreement has been signed," Reuters reported. The reported agreement, which would have been the 1st between Israeli and Gulf Arab carriers, would allow Arkia (ARK) passengers to fly from Tel Aviv to Amman before connecting on Qatar Airways (QTA) to destinations in Asia and Africa via Doha. "I am not aware of any signing between (QTA)'s headquarters and Israel," a Qatari government official said. He added it was possible a company serving as (QTA)'s agent in Jordan may have signed the agreement.

(QTA) will inaugurate nonstop service from Doha to Hong Kong on March 26th. (QTA) will operate a daily flight using the A330. (QTA) inaugurated nonstop service from Doha to Nairobi. (QTA) now operates 5x-weekly, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays, with an A300-600 and has plans to gradually increase that to 2x-daily.

A340-600 high gross weight version made its 1st 4.5 hour flight Nov 18, initiating a 6-month certification program for the Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 500)-powered airplane prior to delivery to 1st customer Qatar Airways (QTA) in summer 2006. Airbus (EDS) said the 380-ton jet will have a range of up to 7,900 nm/14,600 km, approximately 250 nm farther than the standard A340-600 with a payload of 380 passengers in a 3-class configuration.

December 2005: Qatar Airways (QTA) increased frequency on its Doha to Beijing route from 3x- to 4x-weekly. The additional flights departs Doha on Mondays and Beijing on Tuesdays and is operated with an A330-200.

Qatar Airways (QTA) received clearance from the Indian authorities to temporarily increase service to India. As a result, (QTA) increased the number of flights or the size of its airplanes as follows:
Doha to Cochin = Increase from 5x- to 7x-weekly;
Doha to Delhi = Increase from 7x- to 10x-weekly;
Doha to Hyderabad = Increase from 4x- to 7x-weekly;
Doha to Mumbai = Increase from 7x- to 14x-weekly;
Doha to Trivandrum = Daily flight using larger airplane;
This increase is effective until either January 31st or March 25th depending on the route.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase its 4x-weekly service to Manchester by 1 from February 11 and to daily from March 26. (QTA) operates the route with A330-200s.

(QTA) will soon announce an increase in the frequency of flights from Doha to Bahrain. Currently, (QTA) operates 5x-daily with 7x- on Thursdays. It plans on increasing that number to 7x-daily.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched direct, 4x-weekly, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays, Doha to Berlin Tegel service using A319s.

(QTA) signed an Information Technology (IT) partnership agreement with Lufthansa (DLH) Systems covering passenger and ticketing processes.

Qatar Airways (QTA) appointed Eric Pechstein VP North America.

A330-302 (711, A7-AEE), delivery.

January 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) and Saudi Arabian Airlines (SVA) announced the signing of a "strategic code share agreement" to take effect February 1 on the Dammam to Doha sector.

February 2006: Hitit Computer Services said Qatar Airways (QTA) became the 5th carrier to implement its Crane frequent-flier software.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will inaugurate nonstop service to Nagpur (India) this summer season. (QTA) is initially planning 3x-weekly using an A319 or A320 airplanes. (QTA) announced frequency increases on various routes for the coming summer season as follows from Doha:
Athens = Increase from 5 to 7 flights a week;
Bangkok = Increase from 11x- to 14x-weekly;
Frankfurt = Increase from 7x- to 9x-weekly (10x- next winter);
Madrid = All 3 flights will go nonstop;
Manchester = Increase from 4x- to 7x-weekly;
Osaka = Increase from 4x- to 5x-weekly (6x- next winter);
Paris = Increase from 7x- to 10x-weekly (14x- next winter).

A330-302 (721, A7-AEF), delivery.

March 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch non-stop scheduled services between its operational hub in Doha to Nagpur this summer, operating a 144-seat A320 in a 2-class configuration. (QTA) currently operates 30x-weekly between Qatar and 5 cities across India. Delhi, Mumbai, and Trivandrum each are served with 7x-weekly; Hyderabad gets 4x- and Cochin 5x-. (QTA) intends to expand its network with at least 10 new routes this year. Daily flights between Doha and Hong Kong aboard a 2-class A330 are due to begin March 26, and its 1st flights to the USA are scheduled to start later this year.

Lufthansa (DLH) Systems implemented its NetLine/Plan and NetLine/Sched solutions at Qatar Airways (QTA), including optimization modules Fleet Assigner and Hub Optimizer and further supplementary modules.

A330-302 (734, A7-AEG), delivery.

April 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) increased the frequency of flights from Doha to London Heathrow from 2x- to 3x-daily with the addition of a new A330-300 flight departing Doha at 07:50 and Heathrow at 15:05. In addition, on of the other 2 flights, will upgrade from an A330-300 to an A340-600 on August 1st and the 3rd flight will upgrade from an A330 to an A340-600 5x-weekly from September 1st. (QTA) will upgrade equipment on its daily Doha to Frankfurt flight from an A300-600 to an A330-200 on June 15th. (QTA) will increase frequency on the route from 7x- to 8x-weekly on June 26th with the addition of a 2nd flight on Monday also operated with an A330-200. (QTA) will upgrade equipment on its daily Doha to Milan Malpensa flight from an A300-600 to an A330-200 on August 1st. The flight is operated 4x-weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Sundays. (QTA) will upgrade equipment on its daily Doha to Moscow Domodedovo flight from an A320 to an A300-600 on August 1st. The flight is operated 5x-weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, & Sundays. Qatar Airways (QTA) boosted frequency on the Doha to Manila route to 9x-weekly from 7x-. It uses A330-200s on the route. It also increased service to Manchester (MAN) from 5x-weekly to daily. It now operates 35x-weekly to England, code sharing with bmi (BMA) on flights to (LHR) and (MAN).

(QTA) said that it plans to construct a "premium" terminal dedicated solely to first (F) and business class (C) passengers at Doha International Airport. The 10,000-sq-m building will sit next to the main terminal, and will include a spa, jacuzzi, sauna, duty-free shopping and dining areas. The facility also will feature conference and meeting rooms with free Internet access.

A330-202 (743, A7-ACI), delivery.

May 2006: Employees = 5,309 (including 612 Flight Crew (FC); 1,820 Cabin Attendants (CA); & 547 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).

A330-202 (746, A7-ACJ), delivery.

June 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase the frequency on its Doha to Madrid route from 3x- to 4x-weekly from November 1st. (QTA) currently operates flights on Mondays, Fridays & Sundays and will add a Wednesday flight, all operated with A300-600s.

(QTA) is increasing the frequency on its Doha to Bangkok route from 10 x-weekly to 2x-daily. (QTA) will use a mix of A330-200s and A330-300s for the summer season, switching to all A330-200s from the winter season on November 1st as published in the current schedules.

Lufthansa (DLH) and Qatar Airways (QTA) started code share flights from Doha to the USA via Germany at the beginning of the month. (DLH) will operate the transatlantic legs to New York (JFK), Newark, Washington Dulles and Houston. (QTA) plans to launch its own nonstop flights to the USA this year with its 1st A340-600 (IGW). (QTA) and Asiana Airlines (AAR) signed a code share agreement under which Asiana (AAR) will place its code on (QTA)'s Doha to Seoul flights. (QTA) operates a 3x-weekly service between the capitals via Shanghai. It will add a 4x-weekly flight this summer. (QTA) boosted its Doha to Bangkok service to 2x-daily from 10x-weekly.

INCDT: Qatar Airways (QTA) A330-203 (746, A7-ACJ) bound for Doha as QR889 suffered a double engine flame out after takeoff from Shanghai on June 1. The pilots (FC) managed to restart both engines and returned for an emergency landing at Pu Dong International Airport. The airplane involved, was (QTA)'s newest A330 and had just been delivered. The June 1 incident, thought to be the 1st of its type to hit this particular engine/airframe combination, is understood to have occurred as the airplane was descending through 21,000ft/6,400m. (GE) confirms the incident happened “between 30,000 ft and 20,000 ft.”

(QTA) is expressing caution regarding its order for 60 A350s valued at $10 billion, given the uncertainty surrounding the likely redesign of the airplane. (QTA), which signed a letter of intent for the A350s last year and is slated to be the airplane's largest customer, is holding off on signing a definitive purchase agreement pending the redesign, which is expected to be completed this summer. (CEO) Akbar Al-Baker told "Reuters" that (QTA) will "review all options," adding, "So many things [about the A350] will change, that the airplane that we signed for last September is not there anymore."

A 747-8 Intercontinental order booked last week is a (VIP) transport for a Middle East-based buyer. According to sources in London, the order is linked to the order for 20 777s also booked last week. That order is believed to be for (QTA).

July 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase frequency and capacity on its Doha to Hyderabad on October 28th. The frequency will increase from 4x- to 5x-weekly with the addition of a Sunday flight, while all flights are operated with A320s the Saturday flight will upgrade to an A321. The airline is hoping to increase frequency earlier than this.

A330-202 (760, A7-ACJ), delivery.

September 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch 4x-weekly on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays from Doha to Dar Es Salaam January 9, bringing its network to 71 destinations. The route will be operated with an A319 in a 2-class configuration of 8 seats in business class (C) and 102 in economy (Y).

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker confirmed (QTA) has ordered 20 777s. The order is composed of 6 777-200LRs and 14 777-300ERs. The 1st 777-300ER is due to be delivered in November 2007.

The order has been listed by Boeing for months and was due to be announced at the Farnborough Airshow in June. The 1st 777-300ER will be delivered to (QTA) in November next year, according to Al Baker. The order is worth $4.24 billion, according to the Arab Air Carriers Organization.

(QTA) ordered 40 high-thrust (GE90) engines to power 20 777s it has on order for delivery beginning next year. The engine order is valued at >$750 million. (QTA) ordered 14 777-300ERs, which will be powered by (GE90-115B)s, and 6 777-200LRs, which will be powered by (GE90-110B)s. "There is a strong working relationship between" (QTA) and (GE), (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said. "(GE) works well with our maintenance teams with a goal of maximizing the performance of our (CF6) fleet. We look forward to operating the (GE90) as well." Production of the (GE90) family will more than double between 2005 and 2007, (GE) said. In total, 30 customers have ordered about 950 (GE90)s for the 777 family, including nearly 500 of the higher-thrust (GE90-115B)s for 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs.

Al Baker also reaffirmed (QTA)'s unsigned commitment for up to 60 A350s made at last year's Paris Air Show in comments to (QTA)'s leading English newspaper, The Peninsula and to media at a ceremony in Doha marking the arrival of (QTA)'s 1st A340-600 High Gross Weight airplane. He said (QTA)'s commitment to the A350 "still stands," adding, "Our Airbus (EDS) orders are very large. Deliveries will continue well into the next decade."

The extent of the A350 commitment remains unclear; it is thought to be 30 firm airplanes and 30 options. It also is unclear whether (QTA) will pay the original A350 price or the price for the new A350 XWB.

Meanwhile, the 266-seat, 3-class A340-600 (HGW) arrived in Qatar from Toulouse in an event featuring a firemen's salute and assorted dignitaries. The airplane, certified in the spring, is the 1st of 10 ordered by (QTA). The remainder will be delivered over a 2-year period. The plane features a new burgundy, gray and white livery that eventually will cover all (QTA) airplanes, on board first (F) and business class (C) lounges and live television, which already has been introduced on some of (QTA)'s A330s flying in the Middle East and Europe. It has 8F first-class seats, 42C in business and 216Y in economy. (QTA) will use the A340-600 (HGW) on routes such as Doha to London Heathrow, Osaka and eventually on flights to the USA E Coast.

(QTA) will lease 5 A321s and 1 A320 from USA lessor (CIT) Aerospace (TCI) for delivery in 2007 and 2008.

2 A340-642's (715, A7-AGB; 740, A7-AGA), deliveries.

October 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase winter-season frequencies from Doha to Frankfurt to 10x-weekly from 9x-, Munich to daily from 5x-weekly, Shanghai to 5x-weekly and Abu Dhabi to 5x-daily. (QTA) will increase the frequency on its Doha to Osaka Kansai route from 5x- to 6x-weekly on October 29th. Departures from Doha will be daily, except Sundays with the new flight on Fridays, departures from Osaka will be daily, except Mondays with the new flight on Saturdays. All flights are operated with the A330-200.

A330-302 (789, A7-AEH), delivery.

November 2006: Qatar Airways (QTA) announced it plans on adding 7 new routes in 2007:
Service to Lagos is scheduled to begin on January 3rd;
Service to Dar Es Salaam is scheduled for January 9th;
Denpasar (Bali) will be added in March 2007;
Ho Chi Minh City is also to be added in March 2007;
New York should join the network in the summer, using the A340-600;
A destination in Northern Europe, to be announced, to start in 2nd half of 2007;
A destination in Eastern Europe, to be announced, to start in 2nd half of 2007.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SVA) retained its title as largest Middle Eastern airline in 2005, but Emirates Airlines (EAD) may well take the crown in 2006 as its fleet touches 100 next month.

In the contest for the title of the Middle East's top airline, Saudi Arabian (SVA)'s fleet of 141 planes carried 16.9 million passengers in 2005, helped in large part by the traditionally heavy inbound traffic for religious pilgrimages to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabian (SVA)'s overall throughput was 2.4 million more than Emirates Airlines (EAD), which had 14.5 million passengers in 2005.
(EAD) ended 2005 with 92 airplanes, but achieved the highest revenues of any Middle East airline at $6.3 billion. (SVA), in comparison, earned $4 billion.

Additionally, (EAD) takes delivery of 1 airplane a month and by the end of the year, (EAD) should have >100 airplanes.

Counting new daily routes such as Beijing in September, and upcoming flights to the south Indian city of Bangalore, and also Tunis later this year, (EAD) could overtake (SVA) in terms of fleet size and overall traffic.

(QTA), 5th overall at 5.8 million passengers and 46 airplanes in 2005, enjoyed some standout accolades. It was the only Middle Eastern carrier to receive a 5-star ranking from Skytrax, a London-based airline and airport market research firm.

(QTA) also came in 4th world wide in the growth of international passenger traffic, at +9.2%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

A330-202 (792, A7-ACK) & A340-642 (766, A7-AGC), deliveries.

December 2006: Starting January 9th, Doha to Dar Es Salaam, using A319s.

$477, 2 orders (February 2009) 777-200F freighters for use on routes to Europe and the Far East, to add to its incoming fleet of 6 777-200LRs & 14 777-300ERs. (QTA) uses A300-600Fs for regional feed into Doha. Deliveries of the entire 777 order will begin next November and continue through the middle of 2010. Cargo traffic in the Middle East accounts for 5.8% of world total and is growing, accoding to a (QTA) statement.

January 2007: The USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to upgrade Qatar's safety rating to Category 1 status under its International Aviation Safety Assessment program. The move will clear the way for flag-carrier, Qatar Airways (QTA) to implement long-standing plans to launch services to the USA. While awaiting the (FAA) Category 1 status to receive approval, (QTA) signed a code share deal with Lufthansa (DLH) for services between Germany and Houston, New York (JFK), Newark and Washington DC.

(QTA) will launch service to Lagos and to Dar Es Salaam on January 9. (QTA) said it will add flights this year to Denpasar, New York (JFK), Lagos, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai, Ahmedabad and 2 yet-to-be-announced cities in northern and/or eastern Europe.

(SITA) and (QTA) signed a 5-year, $30 million contract to build and maintain a global intranet leveraging a suite of (TCP)/(IP) protocols operating over (SITA)'s (IP) Virtual Private Network.

A300B4-622RF (560, A7-ABY), in new livery - see photo. 1 A330-202 (820, F-WWKA), delivery.

February 2007: Starting June 25th, new daily, Doha to Washington (IAD), using A340-600S. Starting June 28th, new 4x-weekly, Doha to Geneva to Newark, using A330-200s.

Qatar Airways (QTA) installed an instant loyalty program enrollment kiosk in its business class (C) lounge at Doha. The kiosk dispenses membership cards "within seconds" of the new member's registration.

March 2007: Starting November 30th, Doha to Stockholm, using A319s.

Qatar Airways (QTA) won Australian government approval for daily service to Melbourne, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Transport, Mark Vaile said. (QTA) also can introduce a second daily service to an additional Australian city next year. In response, Qantas (QAN) CEO, Geoff Dixon said his airline "will have no option but to achieve further cost savings if it is to remain competitive" now that more carriers are gaining access to the country. He noted that three government-owned airlines from the Middle East - - (QTA), Emirates Airlines (EAD), and Etihad Airways (EHD), - - will compete with (QAN) on routes from Australia to Europe, which "reinforced the need for Qantas (QAN) to continue to restructure and lower its cost base." He added that "this is something that some unions, who have been calling for further guarantees in relation to the . . . bid for Qantas (QAN), need to realize."

Qatar Airways (QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker said during the recent ITB convention in Berlin, that the carrier is not making money, but that it will earn "tons" from 2012 onward. "We are investing in a lot of new airplanes," he said. "It is like feeding a cow. When it is fat enough, then it will be attractive at the market." He said (QTA) already has invested $10 billion in new airplanes and is committed to spending another $15 billion on "up to 80 A350 XWBs" and $5.2 billion on 777s. The fleet is expected to double to approximately 120 airplanes in a decade, large enough to attract interest from an alliance. "Our goal is to set a new benchmark in the aviation industry." Complaints from airlines like (DLH) Lufthansa and Air France (AFA), who have said (QTA) is not concerned about its financial performance because it is helped by the state, do not concern Al Baker. "I don't care what others say. If I think about that, I just waste my time," he said. "We don't pay taxes, that's right. But all the other carriers don't have to pay taxes when they fly to Doha." He also revealed that (QTA) will invest $250 million in a new training center that should be operational by September. "We need up to +800 new flight attendants (CA) every year. By the way, each one of them cost us $15,000 in training. We also need +220 additional pilots (FC) annually." Al Baker said that Emirates (EAD)'s plans to serve Australia and New Zealand with the A380 will preclude (QTA) from entering that market, but that it hopes to add Sao Paulo to its network sometime next year.

General Electric (GE) has ruled out a variant of the Engine Alliance (GP7000) powerplant, which powers the A380, for the A350 XWB-1000. A (GE) spokesperson said that "it is not being considered." The engine, a joint venture of (GE) and Pratt & Whitney (P&W), is currently offered only on the A380. The A350 XWB-1000 is to be powered by a (Trent 1000) at 95,000 lbs thrust. There had been brief discussions between (GE) and Airbus (EDS) on a possible 105,000-lbs (GEnx) derivative, but those talks lapsed. Meanwhile, the status of existing orders for the (GEnx)-powered A350 XWB-800/-900 remains up in the air, with (GE) stating that "we are still doing technical studies but are not close to a business agreement." Six customers for the original A350 - - Air Europa (10), US Airways (20), ALAFCO (12), GECAS (10), TAM (10) and Qatar Airways (60) - - ordered the (GEnx) and most analysts considered it a formality that new agreements will be concluded. But according to a spokesperson, "(GE) does not have a deal with Airbus (EDS) on any A350 model and previous contracts we had, are for an airplane that doesn't exist."

A320-232 (3071, A7-ADK), CIT (TCI) leased, A330-202 (820, A7-ACL), A330-302 (826, A7-AEJ), & A340-642X (798, A7-AGD) deliveries.

April 2007: INCDT: At least three Airbus (EDS) airplanes suffered damage in a fire at Middle East overhaul firm Gulf Aircraft Maintenance (GAMCO) (GUL), which started in an A300 said to belong to Qatar Airways (QTA). Emerging details indicate that the effects of the fire at Gamco (GUL)’s Abu Dhabi facility were more severe than initially indicated, with jets belonging to Kingfisher Airlines (KFH), and Air Mauritius (MAU) confirmed as being affected. Air Mauritius (MAU) had an A319 parked next to the A300. The airline has identified the twin-jet as a four-year old example, owned by the carrier, equipped with (CFM) International (CFM56) engines. “According to initial information, the tail of the airplane collapsed and parts fell on our airplane,” says an Air Mauritius (MAU) spokesman. “We do not know the extent of the damage, and therefore cannot advise when the airplane will be back in service.” India’s Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) says that it had an A320 in the same hangar awaiting a "C1"-check and installation of in-flight entertainment systems. A spokesman for the carrier says that the International Aero Engines (V2500)-powered twin-jet, which is owned by lessor AerCap (DEA) and is less than two years old, escaped with “little damage,” although it was subjected to “falling debris”. Qatar Airways (QTA) has not confirmed that it is the operator of the A300 at the heart of the investigation, although there are increasing indications that the jet in question is an A300-600R and that the jet has sustained serious damage. Gamco (GUL) General Manager, Saif Al Mughairy said that, despite the fire, the maintenance operation itself should not be badly affected. He is not prepared to disclose details of the fire damage, beyond confirming that it started in an A300 airplane, or the specific customers affected. But he says that the company is otherwise operating “as normal” and that he is “very confident” that main investigation into the incident will be completed within four or five days.

May 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) confirmed that its USA service will begin July 19 with flights to Washington Dulles (frequency not announced) using A340-600s. It will launch four-times-weekly Doha - Geneva - Newark service on June 28. It also announced the addition of an eighth daily Doha - Dubai flight. Starting November 30th, Doha - Stockholm, using A319s.

June 2007: The biggest deal announced on the first day of the Paris Air Show, valuewise, was the finalization of Qatar Airways (QTA)'s 80-unit A350 XWB Memo of Understanding (MOU) from May, plus the addition of three A380s to bring the carrier's A380 order book to five.

The A350 order was valued at $16 billion, while Qatar (QTA) CEO, Akbar Al-Baker put the value of the A380s, which represented the firming of two options plus one new order, at $750 million. As previously announced, the A350 order comprises 20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s, with first delivery in 2013. Rolls-Royce valued the (Trent XWB) order at $5.6 billion at list prices, describing it as the "largest-ever firm engine order for its civil aerospace business." The agreement includes a TotalCare long-term services agreement.

In discussing the selection of the A350, Al Baker said the airline has been involved closely in its design and "the aircraft definition document is very specifically tailormade for Qatar Airways (QTA)." He also stated that the order "underlines the confidence that Qatar Airways (QTA) has in Airbus (EDS)'s capability to produce an outstanding new-generation, twin-engine, widebody airplane."

A330-202 (849, A7-ACM), delivery.

July 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) will operate its first daily Doha - Washington Dulles (IAD) flight on July 19 aboard a three-class A340. (IAD) will be (QTA)'s 78th international destination. The carrier said it will be the first Middle Eastern airline to operate a daily nonstop to the USA capital.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched its first USA service with four-times-weekly Doha - Geneva - Newark flights aboard a 238-seat A330.
30 orders 787 Dreamliners.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched daily service to Washington Dulles (IAD) and also announced a new codeshare agreement with United Airlines (UAL) that will strengthen the Middle Eastern carrier's presence in the USA market. (QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker said the codeshare will offer access to 50 USA destinations, while giving (UAL) "a foothold in the Middle East." Speaking at a briefing in Washington, he declined to predict the number of passengers the new Doha - (IAD) service will carry but said, "We have done our homework." (UAL) Senior VP International & Regulatory Affairs, Bill Whitaker said that the cooperation "should be up and running by mid-August." Dulles (IAD) service will be flown with a 270-seat, three-class A340-600. (QTA) currently operates 58 airplanes to 78 destinations and has some $16 billion in orders, including a commitment for 80 A350 XWBs that it finalized at the Paris Air Show. Al Baker revealed that the order for 20 777s placed last September also included 20 options and that the airline plans to convert all of them. However, he was coy about discussing (QTA)'s apparent order for 30 787s that was all but confirmed when the airline's logo appeared on the first Dreamliner that rolled out July 8. "We'll have to wait until the next air show for information," he told journalists. (QTA) also has five A380s on order, with first delivery scheduled to coincide with the 2010 opening of the new airport in Doha. The average age of airplanes comprising the current fleet is fewer than five years and Al Baker said he plans to keep it that way, by leasing out older planes to other carriers. The (UAL) codeshare could be a first step toward joining an alliance, Al Baker said, noting that most of (QTA)'s codeshare arrangements are with Star Alliance (SAL) members. It expects to begin service to other USA cities soon (it started flying to Newark in June). "We always have something up our sleeve," he said.

Later, Qatar Airways (QTA) confirmed that it is preparing to announce a 787 Dreamliner order. After refusing to do so, CEO, Akbar Al Baker said in Washington, "very soon, we will be announcing a huge order for 787 Dreamliners."

August 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) announced further expansion into India with the launch of service from Doha to Nagpur (twice-weekly from September 23) and Ahmedabad (daily from December 12) aboard A320s.

September 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) upgraded the airplanes on its 10-times-weekly Doha - Kuala Lumpur route to A330s offering passengers in every seat fully interactive In-Flight Entertainment (IFE).

A J Walter Aviation (AJW) will help Thales (THL) Training and Simulation, support customers of its flight simulators, by providing maintenance and spare parts supply of airplane avionics and instruments fitted to the simulators. Initially, Thales (THL) will use the service to support its contract to maintain Qatar Airways (QTA)'s three C2000X simulators for the A320, A330 and 777.

Lufthansa (DLH) Systems (LHS) said it is dropping all further development of its Future Airline Core Environment (FACE) passenger management platform. The company cited "commercial reasons" for the decision. (FACE) was intended to support the core processes of passenger airlines, such as schedule distribution, reservations, inventory, ticketing and departure control. The next-generation system was touted as more flexible and more cost-efficient than traditional reservations systems. Lufthansa Systems (LHS) did not elaborate on the commercial reasons for its decision, but the move came on the heels of Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT)'s announcement that it planned to migrate to the Amadeus Alt'a passenger services platform. Amadeus also won the contract to build the Star Alliance (SAL)'s common reservations platform, which will be based on Alt'a. Lufthansa Airlines (DLH), the sister company of Lufthansa Systems (LHS), is a Star Alliance (SAL) member. Lufthansa Systems (LHS) said the three airlines that had signed on to be (FACE) customers - - Qatar Airways (QTA), BMI (BMA), and Garuda Indonesia Airline (GIA) - - still have valid contracts for its existing MultiHost system that can be expanded with Revenue Integrity, Self Service Devices, e-ticketing Hub and other modules. "We had planned to offer (FACE) to airlines as a passenger system that is based on new technology. In the development of this highly complex product, we had to rely to a large extent on products and services of different suppliers," the company said. "Since the project's launch more than two years ago, progress of the development work has been monitored constantly. After the latest review of the project's progress, and the quality of components delivered by external suppliers in particular, we could no longer assume that we would be able to provide our customers with a product that would meet their requirements within a reasonable time frame and at reasonable costs." Among (FACE)'s "external suppliers" was Unisys, whose AirCore product was slated to be "the heart" of (FACE). AirCore, built on Unisys' "3D Visible Enterprise" technology, provides transactional history and preferences from which future transactions can benefit. AirCore produces a passenger name record, but the file also includes a full view of the customer relationship, not just a specific transaction. Earlier this year, Lufthansa Systems (LHS) said it was investing €40 million in (FACE).

October 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) put a two-class A330-200 offering (AVOD) at every seat on its four-times-weekly, Doha - Algiers service, replacing an A300 on the route.

A321-231 (3274, A7-ADV), CIT Group (TCI) leased.

November 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) and United Airlines (UAL) implemented their codeshare agreement following approval from the USA Dept of Transportation. (QTA)'s code now is placed on select (UAL) domestic services from Washington Dulles (IAD), and on flights from several European gateways to the USA. (UAL)'s code is on (QTA) flights between Doha and (IAD) and Newark (EWR), as well as a number of other (QTA) routes. Last June, (QTA) started scheduled flights from Doha to (EWR), via Geneva. In July, it added daily nonstop service to (IAD) using A340-600s, and from January on its new 777-300ERs. It has launched service to 11 new destinations this year, and expects to pass the 9 million passenger mark, compared to 8 million last year, General Manager Commercial, Ali M Al Rais said.

With one of the world's largest deposits of natural gas sitting just off its shores, Qatar Airways (QTA) has committed itself to taking advantage of that resource and improving its economic and environmental impact in the process. At the Dubai Air Show, (QTA) was joined by Airbus (EDS), Rolls-Royce (RR), Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Woqod Qatar Fuel Co as signatories to an agreement calling on them to carry out an "intensive study" on the development and use of gas-to-liquid kerosene fuel within the next few years. (QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker called the signing "a significant day in the history of aviation, as we celebrate the technology of the future." The parties will look at the feasibility and benefits of using the natural gas reserve as the basis for a synthetic jet fuel created through the Fischer-Tropsch process. The so-called Pearl GTL project, which will produce 12,000 barrels per day of GTL kerosene, will be aimed at both "making Qatar the GTL capital of the world" and giving aviation a say in the environmental debate. "Industrial leaders need to be more proactive," Al Baker told media here. "The aviation industry has been at the center of this highly topical debate, and today we are proud to be taking positive steps toward an even more environmentally friendly world." Rolls Royce (RR), Senior VP Airlines, Mick Forey and Shell Aviation, VP, Sjoerd Post, said GTL kerosene is cleaner burning and possesses higher energy density, meaning less fuel will be needed to fly the same distance. The fuel already has been tested on a small scale in a variety of applications. "This is a drop-in fuel. It doesn't require any engine modification. A 50% blend GTL into kerosene will not require any modifications," Forey said, adding that a higher blend may be certified at a later date. "One of our criteria is that you don't need to change airport or engine infrastructure. It must mix normally with regular kerosene to use," Post said. While Forey said that the effects on carbon dioxide emissions will be "slight," the major benefit will come in the airspace surrounding airports thanks to GTL fuel's cleaner burning properties. "It has less particulates out of the back of the engine," Post said. "It will help air quality at airports. There's no sulfur, no nitrates. In that sense it's a cleaner fuel . . . This is very much a proposition about local air quality." Qatar Airways (QTA) said it intends to be the first airline in the world to operate a flight fueled by GTL kerosene, although the agreement signed here largely was about a joint commitment to research and testing. "We don't know when we're going to start trials, putting a team together to explore this . . . We have to lay out a project plan and see when we're going to do what," Post said. He did say the consortium could be testing the fuel in flight, but not necessarily on a commercial jet, within one year.

Doha's new international airport is on track to open for initial operatons by the end of 2009, said Bernardo Gogna, Director of the facility's steering committee. Total investment in the airport, which will span 22 sq km, will reach $10 billion by the end of 2009, he added. Construction began in January 2005. The airport will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers annually, increasing to 50 million by the time it is fully operational in 2015. It will feature two parallel runways, one 4,800 m and the other 4,500 m. Four of 40 gates will be dedicated to serving A380s. There also will be 22 remote gates. Qatar Airways (QTA) will be the main user and plans to alter its schedule upon the airport's opening. (QTA) currently operates two arrival and departure waves at its hub. This should increase to three waves next summer, and once the new airport opens up to five waves daily are possible. "During that peak time, there will be 32 flights arriving almost at the same time," Gogna said.

Dnata, the Dubai-based airport services provider, said that it has acquired Jet Aviation Handling, the airport handling division of Switzerland-based Jet Aviation Group (JTA). Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquired company will be Dnata's first airport handling business in Europe and is "consistent with its strategy of developing an international network," it said in a statement. With the buy, Dnata now has handling operations at 16 airports in seven countries: Australia, Singapore, China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Switzerland and the UAE. Jet Aviation Handling provides airline and cargo handling to more than >60 carriers at Zurich and Geneva. Its customers include British Airways (BAB), Air France (AFA)/(KLM), Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD), Qatar Airways (QTA), and Air-Berlin (BER). It employs about 1,100 workers across the two airports. "The sale by Jet Aviation Group (JTA) reflects its strategy to focus on its core activities in the private and business aviation sector," Dnata said.

Rockwell Collins (RC) announced a deal with Qatar Airways (QTA)'s selection of a "broad array" of avionics for 20 firm 777s that the airline recently ordered. Its deal with (RC) also includes options for 20 additional 777s. The order covers the WXR-2100 MultiScan Hazard Detection System, (TCAS) and SAT-2100 satellite navigation with dual SwiftBroadband, along with a complete suite of communications, navigation and sensors.

Jeppesen finalized an agreement with Qatar Airways (QTA) to supply electronic flight bag (EFB) applications and data for the airline's new 777s, that will feature the Boeing (TBC) Class 3 (EFB). The first airplane is scheduled for delivery this month.

Qatar Airways (QTA)'s first 777-300ER will enter service later this month on its recently launched Doha - Washington Dulles service, replacing an A340-600.

Qatar Airways (QTA) gave Boeing (TBC) a boost on the first day of the Dubai Air Show as it formalized commitments for up to 60 787s and 32 777s worth $13.5 billion. CEO, Akbar Al Baker lauded the 777, describing it as the backbone of the carrier's long-haul fleet going forward, and said the 787 delay is "insignificant compared to the A380 delays." (QTA)'s Boeing (TBC) commitment comprises 14 777-300ERs, six 777-200LRs, seven 777-200Fs, and 30 787-8s, with options for five 777s and 30 787-9s. The 777 component initially was revealed in June 2006, and the 787 order was placed this spring. The carrier also has committed to 80 A350 XWBs. Deliveries of the 777s will start next month and run through 2010, while the 787s will be delivered from mid-2010 though 2014. (QTA) selected the (GEnx) engine for the 787-8s. Al Baker said that the airline's "growth plans are on track with load factor +8% ahead of the business plan." He added that Qatar (QTA)'s Doha airport is the fourth-largest in the Middle East and will be No 3 by the end of next year. He also noted that the emirate has the world's highest per capita income. The 777-300ERs will replace (QTA)'s A340-600s. It has decided not to exercise options on that model. The 777-200Fs will lead its plan to develop Doha into a cargo hub. Boeing Commercial Airplanes (TBC) President, Scott Carson said he was "extremely honored and very excited with the development of the relationship with Qatar Airways (QTA)." Al Baker told media that the carrier should be profitable by 2010 and that he expects an Initial Public Offering (IPO) three years after that. At that time, he expects (QTA) to be operating 125 airplanes to 120 destinations.

Qatar Airways (QTA) took delivery of its first 777-3DZER (36009, A7-BAA). It has 27 777s on order.

December 2007: Qatar Airways (QTA) inaugurated daily A320 flights from Doha to Ahmedabad, which became its eighth Indian destination.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will phase out its four A340-600s earlier then scheduled, as it takes deliveries of its new 777s, CEO, Akbar Al Baker said in Seattle, as the carrier took its first 777-300ER. He also confirmed that (QTA) will not exercise its six A340-600 options. It took its first A340-600 in September 2006.

(QTR) will establish a leasing company called "Oryx Leasing," that will aim to place the carrier's older airplanes elsewhere. It will start by the middle of next year with six A300-600s, and eventually will handle the A340-600s.

(QTR) also is evaluating extending its short-haul network and is considering a regional jet order. It is looking at Bombardier's proposed CSeries, Embraer's EMB-Jets and the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet offering. Al Baker previously said that he sees many possibilities for new routes from Doha to smaller destinations in places like Saudi Arabia and Africa.

777-3DZER (36103, A7-BAB "Um-Alamad"), delivery.

January 2008: A320-232 (3369, A7-ADW), and A330-302 (893, A7-AEM), deliveries.

February 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) will add a fourth daily Doha - London Heathrow flight on March 30.

A300B4-622R (630), sold to FedEx (FED). A321-231 (3397, A7-ADX), CIT Group (TCI) leased.

March 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) plans to start all-premium flights out of Doha on medium-haul routes, CEO, Akbar Al Baker said at last week's ITB tourism fair in Berlin, and airplanes configured with an all-first-class (F) cabin should be operating by year end. Al Baker declined to reveal the type of airplanes or how many will be used on the new service. "We are looking for a 100-seat airplane. I guess within six months time, we will make the decision on which type of airplanes we will order," he said. He anticipates a demand for up to 20 regional airplanes serving at least 10 destinations in the Middle East. It is unclear whether (QTA) is shopping at Bombardier, Embraer or both. On the larger end of the market, he said that increasing (QTA)'s A380 order is a possibility. It currently has five on the books. "First I want to see how the plane will work with other airlines, and then maybe we will order more," he said. Al Baker expects that (QTA) will be profitable by 2011. By 2014, after three years in the black, he hopes to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The opening of the new Doha International Airport in 2011 will be key. "We will offer a minimum connecting time of 30 minutes," he promised. The current financial year will end on March 31 and he said the carrier will have transported around 10 million passengers by then and expects 11.5 million next fiscal year. He also confirmed that (QTA)'s new leasing company will be called Qatar Leasing rather than Oryx Leasing. The subsidiary should be fully operational by 2010, offering five airplanes initially, with A340-600s, A330s and A320s to be transferred from the mainline fleet.

Beijing Capital International Airport's new $3 billion-plus Terminal 3 opened as Shandong Airlines (SHG) (flight SC1151 arrived from Jinan at 8:39 am. UK architect, Norman Foster claimed it is the largest covered structure ever built - - 3.25 km long and 1.3 million sq m of floor space. Construction began in March 2004. The airport said the three-concourse facility welcomed Shandong (SHG), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), Qantas (QAN), Qatar Airways (QTA), British Airways (BAB), and El Al (ELA). A second move is scheduled for March 26 when Air China (BEJ), Shanghai Airlines (SHA), (SAS), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Lufthansa (DLH), Asiana Airlines (AAR), Air Canada (ACN), United Airlines (UAL), (ANA), Thai Airways (TII), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Finnair (FIN), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Japan Airlines (JAL), Dragonair (DRG), Turkish Airlines (THY), Emirates (EAD), Air Macau (MCU), S7 Airlines (SBR), and EgyptAir (EGP) will transfer to the new building. "Reuters" reported that airport capacity will be boosted to 76 million per year from the 52 million it served in 2007. The baggage system can handle 19,800 pieces per hour, it said.

A330-202 (907, A7-AEN), delivery.

April 2008: A330-202 (918, A7-AEO), delivery.

June 2008: Amadeus reached 10-year agreements with 12 Arab Air Carriers Org-affiliated airlines for distribution activities in their home markets. Six members, who have partnered with Amadeus for the past seven years, will be joined by another six, when their current distribution agreements expire at year end. Accounting for 66% of the reservations made by travel agencies in the (MENA) region, the 12 airlines are Air Algerie (ALG), Afriqiyah Airways (AQY), EgyptAir (EGP), Etihad Airways (EHD), Kuwait Airways (KUW), Libyan Airlines (LAA), Qatar Airways (QTA), Saudi Arabian Airlines (SVA), Sudan Airways (SUD), Syrian Arab Airlines (SYR), Tunisair (TUN), and Yemen Airways (YEM).

July 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) for four A321s plus two options. The four firm airplanes are scheduled for delivery "in the near term," CEO, Akbar Al Baker said at the Farnborough Air Show, following a signing ceremony with Airbus (EDS) President & CEO, Tom Enders. The A321s covered in the (MOU) will bring Qatar (QTA)'s narrowbody fleet to 27. "Concluding this deal with Airbus (EDS) for the additional A321 airplanes will further assist Qatar Airways (QTA) in the rapid development of its regional network," Al Baker said, while dismissing the idea that it might start a Low Cost Carrier (LCC). "I never mentioned we would launch an (LCC)," he said, criticizing press reports to the contrary. "What I said is that we will launch an (LCC) within 90 days from the moment I notice [that other Middle East (LCC)s] erode my market. We have a name registered and we have the airplanes, [and] converting them into an (LCC) configuration does not take long."

August 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin daily, Doha - New York (JFK) on October 26 aboard a 777-300ER. Six-times-weekly, Geneva - Newark will end. Doha - Geneva will operate four-times-weekly aboard an A330.

A330-302 (907, A7-AEK), delivery, ex-(F-WWYE).

September 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA), the national carrier for Qatar, operates a hub-and-spoke network, based on the capital Doha, serving around 80 destinations in the Middle East and Far East, Africa, Europe, India subcontinent, and the USA.

Employees = 7,402.

(IATA) Code: QR - 157. (ICAO) Code: QTR (Callsign - QATARI).

Parent organization/shareholders: Government of Qatar (50%); & privately held (50%).

Codeshare Partners: All Nippon Airways (ANA); Asiana (AAR); bmi British Midland (BMA); Lufthansa (DLH); Malaysia Airlines (MAS); Middle East Airlines (MEA); Philippine Airlines (PAL); Saudi Arabian Airlines (SVA); & United Airlines (UAL).

Main Base: Doha International Airport (DOH).

International, Scheduled Destinations: Abu Dhabi; Aden; Ahmedabad; Alexandria; Algiers; Amman; Athens; Bahrain; Bali; Bangkok; Beijing; Beirut; Berlin; Cairo; Cape Town; Casablanca; Cebu; Chennai; Colombo; Damascus; Dammam; Dar Es Salaam; Delhi; Dhaka; Doha; Dubai; Frankfurt; Geneva; Guangzhou; Ho Chi Minh; Hong Kong; Hyderabad; Islamabad; Istanbul; Jakarta; Jeddah; Johannesburg; Karachi; Kathmandu; Khartoum; Kochi; Kozhikode; Kuala Lumpur; Kuwait; Lagos; Lahore; London; Madrid; Mahe Island; Maldives; Manchester; Manila; Mashad; Milan; Moscow; Mumbai; Munich; Muscat; Nagpur; Nairobi; New York; Osaka; Paris; Peshawar; Riyadh; Rome; Sana'a; Seoul; Seychelles; Shanghai; Singapore; Stockholm; Tehran; Tripoli; Trivandrum; Tunis; Vienna; Washington DC; & Zurich.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is recruiting 777 Pilot In Command (PIC)s (FC). Applicants can apply online.

October 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo launched weekly, Doha - Zaragoza - Dubai - Doha aboard an A300-600F. (QTA) Cargo launched weekly, Doha-Sialkot freighter service aboard an A300-600F.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is interested in a possible bid for Olympic Airways (OLY), Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis revealed. "What I can say is that Qatar Airways (QTA) is on the list of investors who have expressed interest in Olympic (OLY)," he said in a statement cited by "Bloomberg News." Deadline for nonbinding bids is the end of the month and no other potential bidders were named.

November 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) reached a 15-year agreement with Qtel for migration of its data center to the telecommunications provider's operations facilities in Doha. Migration includes systems supporting flight operations, finance, human resources, and Internet booking activities.

Mobiqa reached a deal with Qatar Airways (QTA) to provide its mobi-pass delivery system allowing passengers to receive boarding passes via mobile phones. The technology incorporates travel details on a barcode sent to mobile devices as an MMS, e-mail or WAP Push/Link message.

Qatar Airways (QTA) secured $500 million in financing for the purchase of three 777-300ERs. Twelve-year arrangement is with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (facility agent and security trustee) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe.

For Flight Crew (FC)/Cabin Attendant (CA) hiring, see attached ad in "Flight" - - "QTA-FC CA-AD-NOV08."

December 2008: Qatar Airways (QTA) took delivery of its fifth 777-300ER. The airplane will seat 335 passengers with 42C in business class and 293Y in economy and will be used on (QTA)'s 11-times-weekly, Doha - Manila service. (QTA) has firm orders for 14 777-300ERs, six 777-200LRs, and seven 777-200Fs with deliveries scheduled through mid-2010.

January 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch its delayed daily Doha - Houston Intercontinental 777-200LR service on March 30. (

(QTA) will take delivery of its first 777-200LR next month. (QTA) currently operates five 777-300ERs.

February 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) took delivery of its first of six 777-200LRs. The airplane is its sixth 777 and 66th overall. It will operate (QTA)'s Doha - Houston Intercontinental service scheduled to launch March 30. The airplane seats 42 passengers in business (C) class and 217 in economy (Y).

2 777-2DZLRs (36012, A7-BBA; 36013, A7-BBB), deliveries.

March 2009: Claiming that some airlines are "overreacting" to the current downturn with hasty reductions of their networks, Qatar Airways (QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker confirmed that (QTA)'s winter expansion will include its first services to Australia. Al Baker said (QTA) "is a robust airline, with a clear strategy, prepared for any crisis that may happen." It is taking delivery of 12 777s this year and will launch flights from Doha to both Sydney and Melbourne in November. Two 777-200LRs and one 777-300ER have arrived in the past month, he said, adding that he is unhappy with the performance of (QTA)'s four A340-600s. "If I could, I would throw them away. These planes are not efficient at all."

He also said that the carrier considered Bombardier's CSeries, which received its first firm order this week from Lufthansa (DLH), but that any plan to add regional jets at this point "is now on ice." He claimed he was unable to get the price he wanted from Bombardier, "and we wanted a guarantee for performance, which we didn't get." Talks with another unidentified regional jet manufacturer failed as well. "This company, I will never call again in my life," Al Baker said.

Instead, he will "keep my mind open" about adding more A320s or 737s. (QTA) also has been forced to invest more money in its A330 fleet owing to the delay in the 787 program. It hesitates to operate airplanes older than five years. It has 30 787-8s on order plus 30 options.

(QTA) expects to transport around 12 million passengers in the fiscal year ending March 31. It currently operates 68 airplanes (including eight 777s) and has the 787s, 80 A350s, 24 777s (including freighters), five A380s and eight A321-200s still on order, including options. Al Baker said it will be flying to 120 destinations (from the current 83) with 110 airplanes by 2014, at which time it also may choose to join an alliance.

On the network front, the 2009 expansion announced in Berlin also will include new service to Goa and Amritsar, plus two new routes to Europe that "are currently being finalized." Its Houston Intercontinental flight begins March 30 aboard a 777-200LR, and frequencies to eight cities will be increased on March 29.

"Sydney and Melbourne have been on our radar screen for many years. We can finally look forward to entering the Australian market with vigor as we will have the airplanes to serve this highly popular market nonstop from Doha," Al Baker said. Australia's Labor Party government recently reversed the previous Liberal government's stand that (QTA) had to serve Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne for one year before gaining access to Sydney. (QTA)'s Indian network currently comprises 58 weekly flights to nine cities.

Sabre Travel Network announced renewal of its distribution agreement with Qatar Airways (QTA) covering Sabre-affiliated travel agencies and corporations.

777-3DZER (36104, A7-BAE), delivery.

April 2009: US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and Qatar Airways (QTA) announced a code share agreement covering (QTA) flights between Doha and London Gatwick (LGW), Madrid (MAD), Manchester (MAN), Milan Malpensa (MXP), Stockholm Arlanda (ARL), Zurich (ZRH) and Athens (ATH), Dubai, and Kuwait City. (QTA) will place its code on USA flights from (LGW), London Heathrow, Frankfurt, (MAD), (MAN), (MXP), (ARN), (ZRH), Paris Charles de Gaulle, Munich, Rome Fiumicino and (ATH). The deal is subject to government approvals.

(QTA) launched its daily, Doha - Houston Intercontinental service aboard a 777-200LR.

(QTA) will install Mobile OnAir's in-flight Internet and hort Message Service (SMS) services on its 22 A320 family airplanes as well as "several" yet-to-be delivered planes under an agreement announced yesterday. (QTA) does not intend to offer telephone calls.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker told Abu Dhabi's "The National" that (QTA) will announce an airplane order at the upcoming Paris Air Show. He also said (QTA) is targeting +20% year-over-year passenger growth to 14.4 million, according to "Reuters."

May 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) is ceasing operations to Nagpur, India later this month.

(QTA) announced that it has joined the Aviation Global Deal Group, the consortium of Air France (AFA)/(KLM), British Airways (BAB), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), and UK airports operator (BAA) that is pushing for a unified global policy covering aviation emissions trading.

Recaro Aircraft Seating said (QTA) ordered "a few thousand" of its new Comfort Line 3620 seats. Deliveries will begin later this year.

June 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) will start four-times-weekly flights from Doha to Amritsar (October 11) and Goa (October 25) aboard A320s. Thrice-weekly service to Melbourne begins December 6, becoming daily, early next year.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker blasted the new breed of Middle East low-cost carriers (LCC)s with a blunt assessment of their offering and warned that (QTA) will launch its own (LCC) quickly if any "intrude" on its market. "Do not intrude on our market with your crap airline, crap product and crap yields," Al Baker said during a Paris Air Show press conference. "We are not planning any (LCC). We are a full-service airline. However, if (QTA)'s market share is eroded by these (LCC)s, we are ready to move within 90 days. We have a model ready with an A320. If [LCCs become] the fashion, we will join the fashion show."

(QTA) signed a firm contract for 24 A320 family airplanes valued at nearly $2 billion, including the firming of four A321 options. The order is expected to one of the largest placed at the Paris Air Show. (QTA) currently operates 19 A320 family airplanes and is the Middle East's largest operator of the type. The new airplanes will be deployed to expand and enhance regional routes, CEO, Akbar Al Baker said. He rejected speculation that (QTA) had placed the order to fill a hole created by other airlines' cancellations. "We want the airplanes sooner but Airbus (EDS) cannot deliver," he said.

He also scoffed at suggestions that the airline has ordered too many planes. "We are very clever in shifting capacity to changing market conditions," he said. "We are taking one airplane a month and we need them. Our forward bookings are strong and we made a profit in April and May." (QTA) has said its fleet of 68 airplanes will expand to more than >110 by 2013. Entering the air show, it had firm orders for more than >200 valued at more than >$40 billion.

Al Baker added that the airline had no plans to defer its A380 deliveries and is looking forward to receiving its first in 2012.

(QTA) allegedly is considering plans to cancel the entirety of its Boeing (TBC) order owing to repeated 787 delays, according to "Dow Jones." It has orders for 60 787s including options and 24 777s including freighters and options. "The writing is in the wall for (TBC) and they don't seem to care. They're too busy having lunches and dinners," CEO, Akbar Al Baker told the news service, adding that (QTA)'s issues have "gone way beyond" compensation. "(TBC) doesn't realize how much they're hurting their customers' plans. They're very much mistaken if they think we're going to give them much more time on the issue. Then (TBC) will be left with a load of parked planes. It may be that (QTA) will become an exclusive Airbus (EDS) customer." Boeing VP Sales - Middle East & Africa, Marty Bentrott acknowledged that "customers are very concerned by the delays. (QTA) is a very important customer to us and we're optimistic that we'll be able to work through it."

(QTA) selected (IAE) (V2500) engines for the new A320 family order in a deal valued at $700 million. (V2500)s power the airline's existing A320 fleet.

July 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) announced a +40% combined increase in capacity to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Madrid (MAD), Athens (ATH), and Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). Doha - (CDG) service will increase to twice-daily from 11-times-weekly beginning October 25, (DOH) - (MAD) will rise to daily from four-times-weekly on December 2, daily (DOH) - (ATH) will be twice-daily from March 2010 and (DOH) - (ARN) will receive an extra weekly frequency on October 25.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker ratcheted up his rhetoric about Boeing (TBC), telling reporters ahead of a meeting with the manufacturer regarding the airline's delayed 787 program that "a lot of heads would roll" if he were running the company, according to "USA Today." Al Baker last month indicated that (QTA) is strongly considering canceling its order for 30 787 Dreamliners plus 30 options. That threat was made prior to Boeing (TBC)'s indefinite postponement of the 787's first flight. He told reporters in Washington that the manufacturer requested a meeting with him and that he expected to be updated on the 787's latest delay over the weekend. "The meeting is at their request because they are now concerned which way Qatar Airways (QTA) will go," he said, adding that (TBC) has "lost its leadership . . . The mess with this program could have been corrected a long time ago. If they had correctly focused management, they could have seen this coming."

2 Bombardier Challenger 60s (5184, A7-CEB - - SEE PHOTO - - "QTA-EXECUTIVE-JUL09;" 5783, A7-CEA), deliveries for Qatar Executive service.

September 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) will add a fifth-weekly, Doha - Zurich A330 flight on October 25.

(QTA) said it arranged a pair of financings worth $700 million covering four 777s arriving this autumn. In the first, it secured an asset-backed, $350 million lease finance deal covering 100% of the purchase cost of a 777-300ER scheduled for delivery this month and a 777-200LR due to be delivered in November. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank AG, Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited struck the deal with a 12-year term.

In the second, also worth $350 million, Calyon, Credit Suisse, Helaba, and Natixis Transport Finance are underwriting the financing of a 777-300ER for delivery next month and a 777-200LR that arrives in December through a two-tranche finance lease structure with a term of up to 12 years. Calyon and Natixis Transport Finance served as Joint Arrangers.

Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) will perform "C" maintenance checks on 24 (QTA) airplanes (nine A320s and 15 A330s).

777-3DZER (37661, A7-BAF), delivery.

October 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched four-times-weekly service between Doha and Amritsar aboard a two-class A320.

A (QTA) A340-600 powered by (Trent 556) engines flew from London Gatwick to Doha using a 50-50 blend of synthetic (GTL) kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene, which (QTA) said was the world's first commercial passenger flight powered by fuel made from natural gas. The flight was the "latest step" for the consortium comprising (QTA), Rolls-Royce (RRC), Airbus (EDS), Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Shell and Qatar Fuel.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar al-Baker said Airbus (EDS) should offer new engines on its A320s to ward off challenges from Bombardier and stay ahead of Boeing (TBC). Speaking to "Bloomberg," al-Baker claimed that Pratt & Whitney (P&W)'s (PW1000G) geared turbofan fitted to the A320 would be "fatal" for Bombardier's CSeries jet, which is slated to enter service in 2013 powered by the same engine. (QTA) is considering an order for the CSeries and his claims may well be part of the negotiations for a better deal. Al-Baker said (QTA) is waiting for a "few figures" from Bombardier before making a decision. "If it were in my hands, I would make sure that (EDS) launched [a narrow body with a next-generation engine] sooner rather than later," he told "Bloomberg." "This development would put them at least +10 years ahead of the competition on the single-aisle airplane and most definitely kill the CSeries program."

(QTA) is recruiting Captains (FC) and First Officers (FC) for A300-600/A330/A320/777. Flight Crew (FC) applicants can apply online.

777-3DZERs (36014, A7-BAG; 38247, A7-BAQ), deliveries.


November 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase its five-times-weekly, Doha - Stockholm Arlanda service to daily on March 28, when it replaces an A310 with an A330. (QTA) launched four-times-weekly service from Doha to Amritsar and Goa and will start Doha - Melbourne service December 6.

777-2DZLR (36015, A7-BBC), delivery.

December 2009: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched its Australian service, a thrice-weekly, Doha - Melbourne flight aboard a 777-200LR. The service becomes daily on January 1. (QTA) plans to fly to Sydney next year. (QTA) announced new routes from Doha to Bangalore (daily beginning in February), Ankara (four-times-weekly in April) and Tokyo Narita (daily via Osaka Kansai (KIX) from the end of April). Flights to Incheon currently operated via (KIX) will become nonstop from Doha at the end of March.

For all its financial and strategic success, what Qantas (QAN) fears most is the recent increase of flights from the Arabian Gulf. Qatar Airways (QTA), has joined Emirates (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) on the list of airlines serving Australia, with the launch of non-stops between Doha and Melbourne three times weekly with a new 777-200LR. The service becomes daily next month and will join the new Doha - Sydney service scheduled for sometime in 2010. For (QTA), Melbourne is one of four new destinations added in 2009. Houston, Amritsar and Goa are the the others. Back in March, (QTA) said it would add two European cities this year (Amsterdam and Barcelona are the two busiest it doesn't yet serve). (QAN)'s biggest exposure to Gulf carrier competition is most evident in the Europe - Australia market, with particular emphasis on London - Australia.

2 777-2DZLRs (36016, A7-BBD; 36017, A7-BBE), A319-133LR (4114, A7-MED) and 2 A320-232s (4110, A7-AHA; 4130, A7-AHB), deliveries.

January 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch flights from Doha to Copenhagen (four-times-weekly) and Barcelona (daily) at the end of March. Safi Airways (SFI) will code share with (QTA) Kabul - Doha next month operating a 737-300.

Qatar Airways (QTA), Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Petroleum announced establishment of the Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform (QABP), which, with the support of Airbus (EDS), will carry out engineering and economic analysis into the development of a sustainable biofuel and "will also look into ways for production and supply," (QTA) said. (QABP) will focus on creating a detailed engineering/implementation plan for sustainable production, a biofuel investments strategy, an advanced technology development program and market and strategic analyses. (QTA) said it will be a "dedicated end-user" and that specific feedstocks have been identified "which could be developed and processed with the aim of providing access to [biomass-to-liquid] jet fuel for use by Qatar Airways (QTA)." The airline operated the first gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel blend-powered commercial flight with an A340-600 in October and conducted a feasibility study on sustainable (BTL) jet fuel with (QSTP) and USA-based Verno Systems. The consortium announced its intent to explore the feasibility of (GTL) fuel at the 2007 Dubai Air Show. It said that while it is moving to the "next phase" of alternative fuels, it will continue "to develop (GTL) further." - - SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE - - "QTA-2010-01 BIOFUEL PROGRESS."

777-2DZLR (36018, A7-BBF), delivery.

February 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch daily, Doha - Bangalore flights on February 22 aboard an A320. (QTA) confirmed the launch of flights from Doha to Copenhagen (four-times-weekly on March 30), Ankara (four-times-weekly on April 5) and Tokyo Narita (daily via Osaka Kansai (KIX) on April 26). Incheon, now served via (KIX), will become a daily nonstop on March 28. In addition, Doha - Barcelona flights begin June 7.

777-3DZER (37662, A7-BAH), A320-232 (4183, A7-AHC) and A321-231 (4173, A7-AIA) deliveries.

March 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch its first flights to South America when it begins flying to Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Buenos Aires from Doha later this year. (QTA) already has announced plans to start serving Copenhagen (March 30), Ankara (April 5), Tokyo Narita (April 26), and Barcelona (June 7). Its summer schedule from March 28 will feature capacity increases to 15 additional destinations, including third daily flights to both Colombo and Kathmandu.

(QTA) took delivery of its 15th 777, a 777-3DZER (36096, A7-BAJ), and 80th overall airplane. (QTA) has +17 more on order. It is scheduled to launch service from Doha to Copenhagen (March 30), Ankara (April 5), Tokyo Narita (April 26), and Barcelona (June 7).

April 2010: 777-3DZER (36097, A7-BAK), delivery.

May 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) took delivery of its first 777-2DZF freighter, one of three it ordered in May 2006 for deployment on Far East and European routes. It currently operates 17 passenger 777s.

June 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) employees = 10,000 (plus a further 5,000 group-wide) (including 1,500 Flight Crew (FC) and 3,500 Cabin Attendants (CA)). (QTA) expects to recruit +2,500 to +3,000 more staff during the 2010 - 2011 financial year.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin flights to Brazil and Argentina from June 24, marking (QTA)'s first operations to South America. (QTA) will use its new 777-2DZLRs to fly non-stop to Sao Paulo and on to Buenos Aires. (QTA) already serves Houston and Melbourne non-stop from Doha.

777-FDZ (36100, A7-BFB), freighter delivery.

July 2010: The Qatar Airways Group, which announced at the Farnborough Air Show a firm order with Bombardier for two Global 5000 airplanes and a Challenger 605 for its subsidiary Qatar Executive, is still talking to Bombardier about buying its CSeries but was not able to conclude a deal at the air show, CEO, Akbar Al Baker said. “I was expecting the question,” he laughed. “Yes, we are still interested in the CSeries. We would be happy to sign a deal during the show but there are some issues that need to be resolved. Talks are continuing.” While refraining from detailing the precise content of the issues, he did reveal they are related to engine-maker Pratt & Whitney (P&W). “The engine manufacturer is the stumbling block,” he said.

(QTA)’s purchase of the additional business jets will bring Qatar Executive’s fleet to six. Deliveries are scheduled for October 2010 and August 2011. “While low-cost carrier (LCC)s in the region are pushing budget travel, we are doing the opposite and targeting high-end travelers. Qatar Executive has been operating extremely successfully since we officially launched Qatar Executive at the Paris Air Show last summer,” Al Baker said.

SR Technics (SWS) and Qatar Airways (QTA) signed a contract to modify the cabin layout of three A321s and two A319s. Work is being carried out in Zurich and will be completed by year end. Modifications include installation of a new seat layout, in-flight entertainment units and a global system for mobile communication. The new (QTA) single-aisle airplane standard is being installed and all galleys and lavatories are being renewed.

August 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) says its growing customer base in North and South America has prompted it to open a "contact center" that can be reached via a toll-free number (877-777-2827) from 8 am to 8 pm (EST) on weekdays, and from 11 am to 8 pm on weekends. (QTA) serves Houston, New York and Washington from Doha, as well as Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. By 2013, Qatar (QTA) expects its fleet to total 120, up from the current 86.

Qatar Airways Cargo (QTA) will begin twice-weekly scheduled freighter services from Doha to Chicago via Amsterdam on August 18. It is (QTA)'s first dedicated freighter service to the USA.

Payloads of up to 100 metric tons are expected to consist of machinery, textiles, automobile parts, and fruits and vegetables in addition to general cargo.

Qatar (QTA) recently started freighter operations to Hong Kong, Mumbai, Cairo, Kolkata, and Riyadh. On August 16, services to Hong Kong will increase to five times a week from the start-up schedule of three weekly flights two months ago.

(QTA) will serve the route with its new 777Fs, of which it has two. Last week, (QTA) took delivery of its 20th 777, a 777-200LR.

(QTA) said it will increase service from Doha to Amritsar (four-times-weekly to daily on September 1), Cochin (daily to 11-times-weekly on November 5) and Delhi (daily to twice-daily on October 31). The increases will boost (QTA)'s Indian capacity from 74 weekly services to 88.

777-2DZER (36102, A7-BBH "Al Qalail") and A321-231 (4406, A7-AIC), ex-(D-AZAD), deliveries.

September 2010: 777-3DZER (36244, A7-BAL), and A320-232 (4436, A7-AHD), ex-(D-AVVW), deliveries.

October 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch thrice-weekly, A319 Doha – Stuttgart service March 9, and will increase daily, Doha – Munich service to 11-times-weekly aboard A330s. It will also launch six-times-weekly, Doha – Kuala Lumpur – Phuket service on October 12, as well as 11-times-weekly, Doha – Bangkok service on November 1, becoming twice-daily service on November 3. Phuket is (QTA)'s 93rd destination.

Boeing (TBC) delivered to Qatar Airways (QTA) its 12th 777-3DZER (extended range) (38247, A7-BAQ). The new airplane was used in support of humanitarian efforts to deliver relief supplies to flood victims in Pakistan.

November 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch thrice-weekly, A319 Doha - Stuttgart service on March 6, and at the same time increasing daily, Doha - Munich service to 11-times-weekly.


December 2010: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched thrice-weekly, Doha - Milan - Nice service. (QTA) will begin operating its 777 for the first time to Spain on January 1 on its daily, Doha - Madrid service. (QTA) begins flights to Bucharest and Budapest on January 17, Brussels from January 31, and Stuttgart beginning March 6.

Doha International Airport (DIA) will open its dedicated arrivals terminal to the public December 19, shifting operations from the existing arrivals area in the main terminal following Emirates (EAD) flight EK841 from Dubai. The current arrivals area will be renamed "Departures & Transfers terminal." Passengers on Qatar Airways (QTA) flight QR133 from Kuwait will be the first to experience the dedicated (DIA) arrivals terminal, which will host immigration and baggage collection services. As the facility will be accessible from a different outside location, passengers parked at the main terminal will be offered free shuttle service upon return in Qatar.

"The expansion will facilitate forecasted growth in passenger traffic through Doha International Airport, while the country prepares its state-of-the-art New Doha International Airport (NDIA), located four kilometers east of the existing airport," Qatar said in a statement. (NDIA) is slated to open in 2012.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is recruiting Captain and First Officer flight crew (FC) for A300-600/A330/A320/777 airplanes. Applicants can apply online. - SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-2010-11-FC AD."

January 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase its six-times-weekly, Doha - Copenhagen service to daily on March 27 and will double capacity on its Doha - Barcelona route, with the introduction of an A330 at the base, replacing the A319 it previously utilized on the routes. (QTA) will also launch service to Bucharest and Budapest on January 17, Brussels (January 31) and Stuttgart (March 6).

(QTA) will increase service from Doha to Kuala Lumpur (11-times-weekly to twice-daily, March 27) Dar Es Salaam (12-times-weekly to twice daily, March 27), Paris (14-times-weekly to 16-times-weekly, March 27), Geneva (five-times-weekly to daily, May 2), and Muscat (21-times-weekly to 24-times-weekly, March 27). It also will replace the narrow body airplanes on its Bangalore service with A330s, on March 1.

(QTA) reached a code share agreement with GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOT) under which (QTA) will add its code to (GOT)'s Sao Paulo Guarulhos flights to 47 Brazilian destinations. (QTA) operates a daily 777-200LR Doha - Sao Paulo service. The airlines have filed a joint application with Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency and Brazilian Antitrust Agency.

Boeing (TBC) again has partnered with Qatar Airways (QTA) and the non-profit global health and disaster relief organization: "AmeriCares" to deliver a second consignment of relief supplies to areas in Pakistan that are still recovering from the massive floods that ravaged the country in August. The first shipment was delivered in September 2010. A consignment of about 35,000 pounds/15.8 metric tonnes of medical supplies was loaded into the cargo hold of the new 777-300ER (extended range) delivered to (QTA). (QTA) subsequently will ship the relief goods from Doha, Qatar to Pakistan. “This is the second time in four months that (TBC) has partnered with (QTA) and AmeriCares to help the people in Pakistan where the need is still great,” said Liz Warman, Director of Global Corporate Citizenship Northwest Region, Boeing. “Providing timely medical care is critical; though the floods have receded, the after effects such as sickness and disease continue to affect the people in these disaster zones.”

Over the years, (TBC) and airline partners as well as non-profit partners in the Humanitarian Delivery Flights (HDF) program have collaborated on many humanitarian missions and the 777-300ER was used on a number of those missions.

(QTA) plans to increase its order for A380s, according to statements made by CEO, Akbar al-Baker. “We have five A380s on order, and imminently we will order another large number of the same airplane,” al-Baker told the "Bloomberg" news agency in Budapest. The (QTA) CEO was in Hungary for the opening of (QTA)'s new route from Doha to the country’s capital (Budapest).

Al-Baker also sounded more committing to the 787 order. “We are going to get the 787s, and we are going to be one of the early recipients,” al-Baker stated during his visit. He had earlier hinted that he would cancel the order if Boeing (TBC) was unable to deliver
the first unit before the end of 2011. (QTA) has 30 787-8s on firm order.



Qatar Airways (QTA) launched five-times-weekly, A330 Doha - Brussels service. (QTA) on March 27 will increase Doha service to Kuala Lumpur (to twice-daily), Dar Es Salaam (to twice-daily), Paris Charles de Gaulle (to 16-times-weekly), Geneva (to daily, May 2), Copenhagen (to daily), and Muscat (to 24-times-weekly) and will upgrade service to Bengaluru and Barcelona with A330s beginning March 1 and March 27, respectively.

(QTA) will launch daily, Doha - Venice A320 service June 15. It will launch twice-weekly, A320 Doha - Shiraz service June 5, its third route to Iran.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker is still "happy" with (QTA)'s relationship with Boeing (TBC) despite the seventh delay of the 787 Dreamliner program announced last month. “We have [adjusted] our delivery schedule and the time line has slipped slightly, but it does not bother me too much.

I’m happy with our relationship with (TBC),” Baker said at a conference marking (QTA)’s new route from Doha to Brussels (BRU). The new A330 service is operated five times weekly in a two-class configuration. (BRU) is (QTA)’s 24th destination in Europe and its 98th in its global network.

(QTA), which has orders for 30 787s and options for 30 more, will “hopefully” receive its first two in December and six more in 2012, Baker said.

(QTA) takes the first of five A380s on order in 2012. Baker reiterated previous statements that (QTA) intends to order more A380s but remained ambiguous on timing or size. “Maybe there will be an update at Le Bourget."

He was equally non-committal about the much-speculated order for the CSeries, which seems to be off the table in light of the launch of the A320neo. “I do not want to comment on this. This is a sensitive issue,” he said. Insiders had speculated that (QTA) might announce a major order for the CSeries at Farnborough last year, but the order was not placed, with (QTA) citing “maintenance cost issues” with the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) (PW1000G) geared turbofan engine.

(QTA) is recruiting Captains (FC) and First Officers (FC) for A300-600; A330; A320 and 777 airplanes. Applicants can apply online. SEE ATTACHED FLIGHT CREW AD - - "QTA-2010-10-FC-AD."

March 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) will add a second-daily, Doha - Manchester service on June 1 and will increase its Doha - Frankfurt service from 10 to 12 times per week, beginning March 27. Doha - Munich service will grow from seven to 11 times per week, effective March 9. (QTA) will launch thrice-weekly, 777-200 Doha - Montreal service June 29, its first destination in Canada and its fourth in North America. (QTA) will launch service from Doha to Kolkata (daily, on July 27), Sofia (four-times-weekly, on September 14), and Oslo (five-times-weekly, on October 5).

(QTA) announced it will transfer its Alexandria flights from El-Nozha to Borg El Arab for "operational reasons," effective March 27. It operates a daily service from Doha.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker said the airline is expecting to receive its first 787 in January or February 2012. "Over two years' delay," he noted. "But the 787 will be a good airplane for us." (QTA), which has 60 787 Dreamliners on order, has taken delivery of 22 airplanes since the beginning of 2010 and soon will take delivery of its 25th 777. The first of its five A380s is expected to join the fleet in 2012.

"Yes, of course we will order more A380s," he said, while declining to say when the order would be placed. (QTA) operates 94 airplanes to 99 destinations. Its fleet is expected to reach 120 units by 2010. In addition to the 787s and A380s, it has 80 A350s and 32 777s on order.

Al Baker said that (QTA)'s opportunities will increase when the new Doha airport opens by the end of 2011 (it was originally slated to be operational in 2009). He noted that the airport will be A380-capable and asserted it could be a key hub. "There will be an airport shortage in Europe in the future," he commented.

(QTA) has adjusted its network owing to the unrest in North Africa, Al Baker confirmed. "Of course this is affecting my business," he explained. "We stopped flying to Libya [and] adjusted schedules to Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt. [The] region accounts for about 5% of our business."

He again reiterated that code shares, let alone joining an alliance, are not on (QTA)'s agenda. "I will work with the devil [Lufthansa (DLH)] when it is in both of our interests," he explained. "But I would never allow [a cooperation] that just (DLH) alone would benefit from."

He also reiterated his contention that most airlines based in the Persian Gulf region will disappear, with just two dominant in the future. "One is "Tim Clark Airlines" and the other one is "Al Baker Airlines," " he joked.

April 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo launched weekly, 777-2DZF Doha - Hanoi - Hong Kong - Doha service on April 15.

(QTA) announced it has refurbished three A321s and two A319s cabins. Upgrades included new in-flight entertainment systems featuring 700 audio and video options from Oryx Entertainment Systems as well OnAir telecommunications devices. One of the A319s will be operating on the new Doha - Stuttgart service.

777-3DZER (38246, A7-BAN), delivery.

May 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch daily, Doha - Entebbe service on November 2; daily, Doha - Baku - Tbilisi service on November 30; and four-times-weekly, Doha - Medina service on July 14.

Qatar Airways (QTA) CEO, Akbar al-Baker declined to provide financial details of the 33% stake in Cargolux (CLX), but said (QTA) and (CLX) expect to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.

(QTA) is one of the region’s fastest growing carriers, serving 100 destinations. Al-Baker said (QTA) sees the (CLX) deal as a way to strengthen its bottom line without drawing management resources away from its growth strategies. “We see there are synergies. (QTA) would like to expand. I’ve always said that we will only be interested in other airlines if they are healthy, if they are well-established (and) that they will add value to (QTA),” he said.

(CLX) generated $59.8 million in profit in 2010, rebounding from a steep loss the previous year as the global economy improved and demand for air cargo increased. “We will not invest in an airline, no matter how attractive it is that will take my management time and management resources to cure a sick individual,” he added.

(CLX) operated a fleet of 14 747-400F freighters at the end of last year, according to its annual report. It plans to gradually overhaul its fleet by replacing existing freighters with Boeing (TBC)’s newer but delayed 747-8F model. It hopes to receive the first three of 13 of those planes it has on order by the end of this year.

Al-Baker also announced three new cities to (QTA)’s network with flights scheduled to begin in November: Entebbe, Uganda; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Tbilisi, Georgia.

Lufthansa Systems (LHS) has implemented its SchedConnect code share management solution for Qatar Airways (QTA). It will also provide (QTA) with its integrated Information Technology (IT) solution, myIDTravel, under a five-year contract.

Last month, (QTA) placed orders for three 777F freighters and two 777-300ERs, an extended-range passenger version of the same plane. (QTA) currently operates 25 777s.

(QTA) also has multi-billion-dollar orders for 30 of Boeing’s delayed 787s and options for 30 more. Al-Baker said that concerns about the delivery date for the airplane have been resolved.

June 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) signed an agreement with Cargolux International Airlines (CLX) to acquire a 35% holding in Europe's largest all-cargo carrier. CEO, Akbar El Baker last month revealed that (QTA) was negotiating an acquisition of around one-third of (CLX).

The equity purchase is part of a wider agreement that cements close commercial cooperation between the carriers. "Our investment in Europe's leading cargo carrier (CLX) boosts our ambition to become one of the major players in airfreight by 2015," (QTA) Chairman Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani said. (CLX) President & CEO, Frank Reimen noted that the carriers identified "numerous synergies owing to the complementary nature of our businesses that will enable us to develop scale and reach and strengthen our respective hubs in Luxembourg and Doha. The implementation of the cooperation plan will be a driver of high customer satisfaction, enhance our competitiveness through improved returns and benefit the Luxembourg economy overall through extra trucking and handling tonnage and the creation of new jobs."

In a joint release, the companies said that (QTA)'s 35% equity interest in (CLX) marks the "termination of the temporary role of the Luxembourg state as a shareholder in the company and enables other state-controlled shareholders who participated in the 2009 (CLX) restructuring plan through the acquisition of a 33.7% holding of former SAirlines (SWS) to sell or reduce their ownership in (CLX)." Luxair (LUX), the country's national carrier, is (CLX)'s largest shareholder with 52.1% while four Luxembourg financial institutions: — (BCEE) (13.1%); (SNCI) (12.8%); (BIP) Investment Partners (11.5%); and Lux-Avantage (2.2%); hold 39.6% and the Luxembourg state holds 8% directly. (BCEE)'s capital is entirely owned by the Luxembourg state.

"Everybody wins from this partnership," Al Baker said. "We seek to fuel our growth plans by including airfreight as a major part of our product offering. Our investment in (CLX), a sound and healthy company and a leading all-cargo carrier, will deliver great value to (QTA)."

Cargolux (CLX) returned to the black in 2010 after three years of losses.

Qatar Airways (QTA) moved its New York (JFK) operations from Terminal 4 to 8, resulting in "improved benefits for our flights departing and arriving at New York (JFK)," including a dedicated check-in area and enhanced baggage facilities.

(QTA) named Marwan Koleilat as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Koleilat joined (QTA) in 1997 and has served as Senior Manager Commercial Operations, East Asia/Southwest Pacific since 2004.

Boeing (TBC) and Qatar Airways (QTA) announced an order for six 777-300ERs (Extended Range) airplanes at the international 2011 Paris Air Show. The order is valued at $1.7 billion at list prices.

July 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) increased four-times-daily, Doha - Kuwait service to five-times-daily.

August 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase its Doha - Dubai flights from eight to 11 daily on August 25. (QTA) will postpone the launch of daily, Doha - Baku - Tbilisi service from the original date of November 30 to February 1, "due to operational reasons." (QTA) launched daily, Doha - Kolkata service.

September 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) delayed the launch of Doha service to Baku and Tbilisi to February 1 from November 30.

Qatar Airways (QTA) and Cargolux International Airlines (CLX) completed the equity transaction announced in June after gaining all regulatory approvals, making (QTA) the second largest shareholder in Europe's largest all-cargo airline with a 35% stake. Luxair (LUX), which has a 43.4% equity stake, is (CLX)'s largest shareholder.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The equity purchase is part of a wider agreement that cements close commercial cooperation between the carriers. “Due to the complementary nature of the business and fleet composition of both companies, the strategic partnership with (QTA) enables (CLX) to enhance its competitive position as an independent leading air cargo operator,” (CLX) said in a statement. “The transaction increases the attractiveness of the (CLX) network through increased reach and scale. It also gives (QTA) access to additional capacity and new destinations and strengthens the Luxembourg and Doha hubs.”

October 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch 2X-weekly, Doha (DOH)- Luxembourg (LUX) - Atlanta - Houston 777F service on November 2 and weekly, (DOH) - (LUX) - Toronto 777F service on November 7.

Sanctions-hit Iran is taking the unprecedented step of allowing a foreign airline, Qatar Airways (QTA), to ply its domestic routes, an Iranian official told the "ISNA" news agency. “The agreements have been done and the time of implementation of this agreement will be announced by the roads and urban development ministry,” the deputy minister in that ministry tasked with transport, Shahriar Afandizadeh, was quoted as saying by the "ISNA" agency.

The deal would see (QTA) operate a code-share arrangement with Iranian airlines to comply with laws excluding non-Iranian companies from domestic routes, the CEO of flag-carrier Iran Air (IRN), Farhad Parvaresh, told the "IRNA" news agency.

Iran’s airline sector has suffered badly under three decades of USA sanctions, which have left a shrinking, dilapidated fleet unable to keep pace with demand. The country has struggled to purchase new airplanes under the sanctions (notably USA-made Boeings but also European-made Airbus (EDS) planes, which contain USA components) and has had difficulty in sourcing spare parts and providing necessary maintenance. Purchases of used airplanes have also been limited.

Around 15 serious air accidents over the past decade have killed more than >900 people, prompting authorities in February to start retiring leased Soviet-era Tupolev airplanes, badly reducing capacity.

There also have been a number of near-misses, including an emergency landing this month of an Iran Air (IRN) flight arriving from Moscow whose landing gear did not fully deploy. An identical problem forced a similar landing in June on a domestic flight by the country’s second-biggest airline, Mahan Air (MHN). There were no injuries in either incident.

Iran Air (IRN) and Mahan Air (MHN) have fleets of 51 planes and 36 planes, respectively.

The average age of Iranian airplanes in service is 22.5 years, according to figures presented in September by an Iranian lawmaker who calculated investment of five billion dollars was needed to cut the average age to 15 years.

Qatar Airways (QTA), which has a fleet of 97 airplanes and orders for +182 more, currently services international routes between the Qatari capital Doha and the Iranian cities of Tehran, Shiraz, and Mashhad.

(QTA) already has code-share agreements with several foreign airlines on international routes, including USA carriers United (UAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA).

Afandizadeh said domestic seats sold on the (QTA) planes would be +25% more expensive than the ones run by Iranian airlines, partly because the (QTA) airplanes would purchase aviation fuel at the market rate of 60 cents a litre rather than the subsidized 33 cents per litre offered to national companies.

Hyper-growth (QTA) celebrated a milestone in its airplane acquisition history. Plane number 100 arrived this month, which was a 777-200LR. It’s the 25th 777 in its fleet, not including two dedicated freighters, with 13 more on the way. (QTA) also expects to receive its first 787 later this year or early next and will also become the world’s first A350 flier in (according to current schedules) 2013. Separately, (QTA) is said to be planning a follow on order for A380s at the Dubai Airshow next month, according to the "Gulf News." It has five A380s on order currently.

777-DZF (36099, A7-BFC "Lbeshairiya") and A320-232 (4858, A7-AHP), ex-(F-WWBJ), deliveries.

November 2011: Qatar Airways’ (QTA) outspoken CEO, Akbar Al Baker took another swing at American and European regulators and governments, calling their comments that Gulf carriers distort the level playing field “pure hypocrisy.”

Speaking during a debate at the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) annual general meeting in Abu Dhabi, Al Baker criticized the new practice by some European Union (EU) member states to include a fair competition clause in their air services agreements (ASA) with a number of Gulf States.

“I do not understand what all this ‘level playing field’ is about. We do not get access to slots and traffic rights in a market where there is clear demand for our services. Yet we do create huge amounts of jobs by placing large airplane orders [with Airbus (EDS)] and we do not get anything back.” He argued the Gulf carriers and their governments should be dictating what is included in the (ASA)s, “not vice versa.”

Al Baker also dismissed remarks about a lack of transparency at (QTA), stressing it was no secret (QTA) is state-owned and supported.

“We have government support in the same way Air France (AFA), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) had government support before they were privatized. When we mature, we will go for an (IPO),” he said.

Regarding the massive investment in Middle East airport infrastructure, Al Baker said the (EU) “should be happy that we, India, China are investing in airports for the benefit of the traveling public while similar investments are stifled in Europe.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched 4X-weekly, Doha - Benghazi A320 service on November 1. (QTA) will start services to seven new destinations in 2012; Perth in Western Australia, the Finnish capital Helsinki, Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and three East African cities: Zanzibar, Kigali and Mombasa, in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, respectively. All seven new routes will be launched over the next few months. (QTA) has already announced Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively, which are will become part of (QTA)’s network from February 1.

With the world’s largest gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant in Qatar set to commence commercial production of the synthetic fuel by 2012, Qatar Airways (QTA) said it aims to fuel all its flights from its hub at Doha with a 50% blend of (GTL) kerosene.

"(GTL) is a zero soot, zero sulphur-emitting clean synthetic fuel. With the plant getting operational by 2012, we aim to fuel all our outward flights with (GTL). Though the fuel is comparatively costlier, its consumption rate is low, which mitigates the cost," (QTA) (CEO), Al Baker said.

The plant (Pearl (GTL), jointly built by petrochem giant Shell and Qatar Petroleum at Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar) will produce one million tonnes of (GTL) kerosene a year.

As an alternative to conventional aviation fuel, the (GTL) will contribute to diversification of aviation fuel supply, and being environmental friendly, it is an attractive proposition for improving local air quality at busy airports, said Baker.

Baker, who was here to announce the airlines’ expansion plans, also said 10 more destinations will be added to its existing 100 destinations by 2012. It will also be acquiring 250 airplanes over a period of time.

"India is an economic power and it has tremendous potential. We have already added Kolkata to our destinations and we may add more. It is also an attractive market for cargo handling as it allows unlimited movement," said Baker.

(QTA) ordered 50 A320neos and five A380s, worth a reported $6.5 billion at the Dubai Airshow (alongside a Boeing (TBC) order for two 777F freighters worth $560 million).

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) announced that (QTA) has selected its PurePower (PW1100G-JM) engines for its order of 50 firm A320neo family airplanes. The deal includes 100 (PW1100G-JM) engines with a PureSolutionSM maintenance service agreement, (P&W) said. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2015.

December 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) started A330 flights to Chongqing, a large Chinese city along the Yangtze River which is an important inland manufacturing center. It is (QTA)'s 5th destination in China (along with Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Shanghai) as well as 100th overall.

Despite the unrest in Syria, (QTA) still flies there, although it has reduced its Damascus frequencies from 10 a week to seven. It also serves Aleppo four times a week.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has secured another slot pair at London Heathrow (LHR) and will add a fifth daily flight between Doha and (LHR) from March 25, lifting capacity on the route from 28 to 35 flights each week. (QTA) will deploy a 777 configured with 42C seats in business class and 217Y seats in economy.

(QTA) CEO, Akbar Al Baker said that (LHR) has been one of (QTA)’s “best-performing routes and it was only a matter of time before we could look at increasing frequency to meet the high demand.” Demand is expected to further increase owing to the Olympics taking place in the British capital next summer, he said.

(QTA) operates scheduled flights to 110 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a fleet of 102 airplanes.

California, USA-based "Byogy Renewables" will seek as much as $30 million in funding from private equity and strategic investors by mid-2012, "Bloomberg" reported. The funds will be used to commercialize its alcohol-based fuel, and for testing by (ASTM) International. “The main goal at the moment is certification of the alcohol to jet fuel process,” CEO, Kevin Weiss told "Bloomberg." “There are several steps through the (ASTM) process and at each point you generate more data and are required to boost the volume of fuel for the various testing requirements.” He said the company plans to form partnerships with sugar and ethanol producers, as it does not produce the alcohol itself.

The company has a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways (QTA), Weiss said. According to "Bloomberg," its partnership with (QTA) is to develop a non-competitive global supply chain to provide clean jet fuel to major airport hubs, possibly including building biofuel production facilities in the future.

January 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) will reduce 14X-weekly, Doha - Manchester service to 10X-weekly on March 26.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will use Boeing's (TBC) Electronic Flight Folder (EFF) on its fleet of 777s and also on its future 787 fleet - - SEE ATTACHED "AIRLINER WORLD" ARTICLE - - "QTA-2012-01-ELECTRONIC FLIGHT FOLDER."

(QTA) hired 50 Flight Crew (FC) pilots in December. (QTA) expects to hire 60 A320 and 777 Captains, First Officers and Second Officers per month in 2012 through 2013. Applicants can apply on the (QTA) web site. (QTA) attended the Global Airline Pilot Career Conference and Job Fair in Newark on October 28. See and

A320-232 (4968, A7-AHR), ex-(F-WWDV), delivery.

February 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) has added two new destinations to its Doha (DOH) based global network during the last month, and also resumed service to Tripoli (TIP) in Libya. The new destinations are Baku (GYD) in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi (TBS) in Georgia, which will both be served daily. Tbilisi is served non-stop while Baku, which will host the annual Eurovision Song Contest in May, is served via Tbilisi. Addressing guests in Baku, (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said Azerbaijan’s developing tourism industry and energy resources were key factors in (QTA)’s decision to start operations there. “We assessed Azerbaijan as a destination with great potential that would create a new air corridor providing wider choices for both leisure and business travellers,” he said. “Azerbaijan’s rich energy resources offer great business opportunities, and a landscape that provides a good base for family and independent tourism. As well as enabling visitors from around the world to visit Baku, we also look forward to providing Azerbaijanis with the opportunity to fly to global destinations on (QTA) via our Doha hub.” Addressing guests on arrival in Tbilisi, Al Baker said Georgia was a highly under-served part of Europe, which prompted (QTA) to consider opening up the route. “Tbilisi becomes (QTA)’s 112th destination worldwide” said Al Baker. (QTA) is operating 144-seat A320s on the Baku and Tbilisi routes. In addition, (QTA) turns to Tripoli with three weekly flights (via Alexandria in Egypt) after suspending operations last year due to the political situation. Al Baker said reviving the Tripoli flights, now that the political situation had eased, was a welcome boost to (QTA)’s operations helping meet demand to and from the Libyan capital. “Libya is an important market for us and it was unfortunate that unfolding events there had affected operations on safety grounds for all airlines flying to the country,” he said. “We are delighted to be going back to Tripoli and provide and help revive the much-needed air transport system in the country after the difficulties of the past few months.”

March 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) launches daily, Doha - Entebbe - Kigali service on March 21.

(QTA) has announced its interest in converting up to 20 of its A330-200s and A330-300s into freighters as they get replaced by newer passenger airplanes being delivered over the next couple of years. It is the first carrier publicly sharing its intention to make such extensive use of the recently announced passenger-to-freight program by Airbus (EDS).

April 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) is planning to increase its minority stake in Cargolux (CLX) from 35% to 49% as part of a capital increase to refinance (CLX).

(QTA) is expected to move its operations to the new Doha International airport on December 12, 2012. The new airport is to the east of the existing facility and built partly on reclaimed land. It will have a capacity of 24 million passengers per year.

(QTA) has received full traffic rights from the Croatian and Hungarian governments for the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International airport (BUD) - Zagreb Pleso airport (ZAG) leg of its new service to Zagreb that it plans to serve from May 5, operating daily from Doha International airport (DOH) via Budapest Ferenc Liszt International airport (BUD). The Budapest - Zagreb route has not been taken up by any other carrier yet since the Malev (HGA) bankruptcy.

(QTA) is planning to add Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International airport (ATL), Boston General Edward Lawrence Logan International airport (BOS), Chicago O'Hare International airport (ORD) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airport (DTW) to its existing USA destinations: Houston George Bush Intercontinental airport (IAH), New York John F. Kennedy International airport (JFK) and Washington Dulles International airport (IAD) as it takes delivery of its 787-8s as of later this year. It also plans to increase its number of flights between Doha International airport (DOH) and New York City offering direct flights via airports in Eastern Europe. Both Atlanta and Chicago O'Hare are currently already served by Qatar Airways (QTA) with cargo flights.

See video "QTA-777-200LR AT DUBAI AIR SHOW 2011 PART 1" - -

See video "QTA-777-200LR AT DUBAI AIR SHOW 2011 PART 2" - -

May 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) now flies to Zagreb Airport in Croatia from its Doha hub, via Budapest. (QTA) will launch 3X-weekly, Doha - Johannesburg - Maputo 777 service on October 31.

(QTA) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Bombardier (BMB) Business Jet Solutions (LXJ, Dallas Love Field (DAL)), also known as Flexjet, to offer private jet connections from its four North American gateways at Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (YUL), New York John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and Washington Dulles International (IAD) airports.

Venice’s long haul flights comprise three transatlantic connections and two routes to Middle East hubs. Delta (DAL) serves Venice from both Atlanta and New York (JFK), while US Airways (AMW)/(USA) has daily flights from Philadelphia. During the last year, Emirates (EAD) increased frequencies on its Dubai service to double-daily, while Qatar Airways (QTA) serves Doha daily. Air Transat (AIJ) also has weekly flights in the summer to Montreal and Toronto.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al-Baker has said that (QTA) would not take delivery of its first of ten A380-800s towards the end of the year as currently scheduled, unless the wing crack issues with the A380 are resolved by then.

July 2012: On 25 July, Qatar Airways (QTA) introduced its first flight to Kilimanjaro (JRO) in Tanzania. The new A320 service from Doha (DOH) operates daily via Dar es Salaam (DAR), the Tanzanian capital. Kilimanjaro thus becomes (QTA)’s 18th destination in Africa and 118th in all. (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “Kilimanjaro signifies the importance Qatar Airways (QTA) places in looking at airports around the world where capacity is limited, yet passenger demand is strong. We are pleased to be reinforcing our presence in Africa with the addition of scheduled flights to Tanzania’s tourism center of Kilimanjaro, home to the infamous Mount Kilimanjaro, allowing us to further develop our business on the African continent. Kilimanjaro is an established tourist center and is also fast emerging as a growing economic center, thanks to its abundant wildlife, natural scenic beauty and natural resources. We have great confidence in the Tanzanian travel market ever since we launched flights to Dar es Salaam in 2007.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) is interested in launching a start-up carrier registered in Saudi Arabia, although such a move would depend on a “fundamental rethink” of the Kingdom’s aviation policy.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker has met with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud to talk about the potential of launching a start-up carrier.

During the meeting, Al Baker said he was keen to invest in the Saudi domestic aviation market, but he raised concerns about “excessive” fuel charges and government control of domestic air fares. (QTA) alleges this policy was a contributing factor in the demise of domestic carrier Sama Airlines (SMA).

“Al Baker said (QTA) was keen to invest, but this was dependent on a fundamental rethink by the government of certain factors which needed to be tackled,” (QTA) said.

(QTA) describes Saudi Arabia as underserved and a key growth area, with potential for additional domestic services. It is aiming to take advantage of the Kingdom’s newly launched aviation liberalization policy.

(QTA) has confirmed it is one of the companies shortlisted by Saudi aviation authorities to operate domestic services in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom seeks to liberalize its airline regime.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker has stated in the past he is interested in investing in Saudi Arabia, whose large land area and young population make it a promising market, one that many analysts believe is underserved.

Bahrain Air (BAZ) as well as Hainan Airlines (HNA) parent HNA Group have applied for licenses to operate domestic passenger services in Saudi-Arabia according to a report by "Reuters." Earlier, Gulf Air (GUL) and Qatar Airways (QTA) had already publicly declared their interest in entering the so far highly regulated Saudi-Arabian market.

However, Al Baker has made it clear that any (QTA) involvement would depend on Saudi authorities making substantial changes to the legislative backdrop that governs air travel there. Fuel costs are regarded as high and the government caps domestic fare levels, making profit margins difficult to achieve.

A "Reuters" report said seven of 14 companies or consortia that originally applied to launch services in Saudi Arabia have now been shortlisted. Saudi’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) launched the bid competition in January. According to report, the seven shortlisted companies will lodge bids by September, and will announce a winner or winners in October; services will begin in late 2013. The (GACA) was not available for comment.

A320-232 (5217, A7-AHW), ex-(D-AXAS), delivery.


August 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched daily, Doha - Dar es Salaam - Kilimanjaro service. (QTA) will launch daily, Doha (DOH) - Chicago O’Hare two class, 42C, 293Y, 777-300ER service on April 10, 2013; 3X-weekly (DOH) - Ankara - Belgrade A320 service on November 20 and 4X-weekly, (DOH) - Warsaw A320 service on December 5.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said (QTA) is continuing its “aggressive expansion” into the USA.

(QTA) operates 2X-weekly cargo flights to (ORD) and daily passenger service to New York (JFK), Washington Dulles, and Houston. (QTA) said it has “many more destinations” planned to launch this year.

Qatar Holding has purchased a 20% stake in UK airports operator, (BAA). According to the company, the transaction is conditional upon approval by European Union (EU) competition authorities. If approved, the deal is expected to close by year end.

The fund has acquired the stake in PGP Topco, the consortium formed by Spanish infrastructure conglomerate Ferrovial to buy (BAA) in 2006, for £900 millio/$1.35 billion, valuing (BAA) at £4.5 billion. The shares come from three members of the consortium.

Qatar Holding called the UK “an attractive investment destination” and said there is “long-term fundamental strength” in the British economy.

September 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) is reportedly in talks with the International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), about a joint venture (JV) on the so called "Kangaroo route" between Europe and Australia according to a report published by the "Financial Times." This would be following a similar deal announced between Emirates (EAD) and Qantas (QAN). (QTA) currently serves 33 destinations in Europe, including Barcelona El Prat International (BCN), London Heathrow (LHR), Madrid Barajas (MAD) and Manchester Ringway International (MAN) in (IAG)'s home markets and operates to Melbourne Tullamarine International (MEL) and Perth International (PER) in Australia. (BAB) currently operates from Heathrow to Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD) via Singapore Changi International (SIN) on a daily basis as part of its joint venture with Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partner, (QAN). It also serves Doha via Bahrain Muharraq International (BAH) on a daily basis, while its sister carrier Iberia (IBE) does not currently operate to any destinations in the Arabian Gulf or Asia-Pacific regions.

(QTA) will launch 4X-weekly, Doha - Gassim A320 service on January 7.

October 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) was officially invited to join the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance and appears set to become the first major Gulf carrier to enter into one of the three global airline alliances when it becomes a full member in 12 to 18 months. “Things are changing in the Middle East and in the global aviation industry,” (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said. “When you cannot defeat your competitors, you join them. And that is what is happening here.”

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh called (QTA) joining the (ONW) Alliance a “landmark” for the (ONW) alliance. “The Middle East is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air transport demand [and] (QTA) is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines,” he said. “(QTA) is the second largest full-service airline in the world (until today) not aligned with one of the world’s global alliances.”

(QTA), which was founded in 1997, has a fleet of 111 airplanes and carried 15 million passengers in 2011. Al Baker said joining the (ONW) alliance will not slow (QTA)’s rapid pace of growth. “Becoming part of an alliance will not stop our expansion,” he said. “Quite the contrary.”

He expressed confidence (QTA) will be able to fully join the (ONW) alliance in as few as 12 months. “We have a lot of integration of systems, processes, frequent flier programs to do,” he explained. He noted there is already system “commonality” in many areas, which should speed the process.

He said the (ONW) alliance and rival alliances: Star (SAL) and SkyTeam (STM) may now be coming to the conclusion that it is “best to partner with the Gulf carriers rather than thinking we are the pariahs of the industry.”

(QTA) will continue its aggressive expansion over the next three years, growing from 119 to more than >170 destinations, according to (CEO), Akbar Al Baker. Next year alone, it will add +15 new destinations to its network.

The outspoken Al Baker said, “Our aggressive expansion will continue unabated and we remain focused on remaining focused. Despite the backlash, we have found our road to success.” He said (QTA) is “no longer the follower, but the pace setter. We will take on the challenge and operate in new markets, where other people dare not venture. Until now we have been very successful in finding and fueling new markets,” Al Baker said.

Highlighting the recent spate of tie-ups between legacy and Gulf carriers, he said: “As the old saying goes, if can’t beat them, join them. This is what it has come to.” (QTA) has been invited to join the Oneworld (ONW) alliance and would become the first Gulf carrier to join an alliance. He said (QTA) is aiming to achieve full integration into the (ONW) alliance within 12 months.

Al Baker also took aim at the European Union (EU), saying it has forced European carriers to make “drastic changes to stay alive,” resulting in job and service cuts. He described the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as a “way for governments to boost their shallow treasure chests.” He pondered aloud whether the (EU ETS) complies with international law and vowed to continue lobbying against it through the Arab Air Carriers’ Organization.

Al Baker also weighed in on the plans for a UK airport capacity review, saying: “Too much talking will only do one thing, it will compound the problem, not solve it. A third runway at Heathrow is no longer an option; it is a political necessity.”

Fast-growing Qatar Airways (QTA) returned to the Burmese market on 3 October when (QTA) resumed services on the Doha (DOH) to Rangoon (RGN)/(Yangon) route. Flights initially operate three times weekly with (QTA)’s 110-seat A319 airplanes, but frequencies will increase to daily at the start of the winter scheduling season. (QTA) previously served Rangoon until January 2008. At present, the 4,700 km route is the longest operating in and out of Rangoon; however, (ANA) is soon resuming its somewhat longer Tokyo Narita service and Condor (CDR) will launch intercontinental flights from Frankfurt next month. (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “Today marks a very special occasion as we celebrate our arrival into a city and country that show enormous potential and growth, both as a competitive tourism destination and center for business in the (ASEAN) region. There has never been a better time to expand into Myanmar – a country blessed with rich natural resources, and proximity to some of the world’s most dynamic economies.” (Note that Burma and Rangoon are known as Myanmar and Yangon in some countries.)

Qatar Airways (QTA) began serving Tokyo Narita (NRT) non-stop from its Doha (DOH) hub on 28 October. (QTA) operated to Tokyo via Osaka Kansai. The new non-stop service to the hub of its future (Oneworld (ONW) alliance partner (JAL) is operated daily with 259-seat 777-200LR airplanes.

(QTA) boss, Akbar Al Baker is losing patience with Boeing (TBC) over its failure to begin deliveries of (QTA)'s 787, as delays are now threatening its network growth. (QTA)'s first 787 made its public debut at Farnborough in July and was expected to be handed over to (QTA) by late August. However, as a result of what Al Baker describes as "a creeping delivery date," the handover has still not taken place, forcing (QTA) to delay plans to introduce the 787 on international services to London.

This had been slated to begin in September, and five 787s were due to be delivered by the end of the year.

(QTA) is adding five new routes to its network in the coming months but Al Baker said that further expansion has been stymied by the delays. "Other [routes] we will have to delay due to the 787 deliveries, which is very disappointing to (QTA)," he said.

"We are now at the mercy of (TBC) to fulfil our growth, which is very difficult for us to digest as we never thought we would have been failed so badly by Boeing (TBC)," he adds. With no firm delivery date currently in sight, Al Baker says (QTA) "now has to look at all our options."

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al-Baker has told "Reuters" that (QTA) does not plan to take delivery of its 787-8s until a material defect with its (GEnx) engines will have been addressed. It is unclear at this point by how much time this will delay the delivery of the first 787-8s for (QTA). It had originally planned to take delivery of its first five of a total of 30 airplanes on order before the end of this year.

November 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched thrice-weekly flights to Maputo (MPM) in Mozambique as an extension to its service from Doha (DOH) to Johannesburg (JNB). Flights on the 6,600 km route will be operated with 777-300ERs. (QTA)’s (CEO) Akbar Al Baker pointed out: “With the discovery of large reserves of natural gas, Mozambique is today emerging to be one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Being an important port in Mozambique, Maputo is a vital economic supply corridor to neighboring landlocked countries in Southern Africa and strategically well positioned.”

(QTA) continues to expand its presence in the Balkans with new route from its Doha (DOH) base to the Serbian capital of Belgrade (BEG), which it launched on 20 November. Thrice-weekly A320-operated flights are offered on the route, all of which will be operated via Ankara (ESB) in Turkey. However, (QTA) was unable to obtain fifth-freedom rights from the Turkish Authorities to sell tickets on the sectors between Turkey and Belgrade. (QTA) will also launch Doha service to Warsaw, Poland (December 5), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (January 7); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).

Tunisair (TUN) unions are protesting against a new bilateral air services agreement between Tunisia and Qatar that in their views unfairly benefits Qatar Airways (QTA), putting Tunisair (TUN) in competition with (QTA). Tunis already serves as a stop for (QTA)’s daily service with A330-200s and A330-300s from Doha via Tunis to Casablanca Mohamed V International airport (CMN) but (QTA) does not currently have traffic rights between Tunisia and Morocco. It will be able to carry passengers between the two countries once it gets fifth freedom rights.

Cargolux Airlines (CLX) confirmed that Qatar Airways (QTA) will exit its 35% shareholding in (CLX). (QTA) had reportedly sought to increase its shareholding to 49%. “Notwithstanding these developments, the (CLX) shareholders Luxair (LUX), (BCEE) and (SNCI) have confirmed their full confidence and support of Richard Forson, the interim President & (CEO), and his management team as they take the airline forward through this difficult phase of restructuring in order to position (CLX) for future growth and prosperity benefiting not only the air logistics industry, but the country as a whole,” (CLX) said. “There are many significant challenges facing Cargolux (CLX) and the shareholders remain committed to implementing those actions that will ensure it long term sustainability.”

Interim Chairman, Albert Wildgen will step down from the (CLX) board of directors on November 30.

The (LCGB) and (OGB-L) unions in a November 13 protest demanded that the government “rethink the role of Qatar Airways (QTA)” and “[live] up to their responsibilities as a 65% majority shareholder and protect the interest of Cargolux (CLX) employees and the worksite in Luxemburg.”

For the full year 2011, (CLX) reported a net loss of -$18.3 million reversed from a +$59.8 million profit in 2010. Revenue rose +8.4% year-over-year to $1.87 billion. “It is difficult to pinpoint one reason specifically, as a combination of factors impacted our performance negatively, including excess capacity in the markets, steadily rising oil prices, an unfavorable fleet mix coupled with higher wet leasing costs and reduced network flexibility resulting from the delays in the 747-8 program,” Wildgen said. “Looking to 2012, we expect trading conditions to remain more than challenging.”

Capacity fell -1.3% year-over-year. (CLX) and Cargolux Italia carried 658,800 tons of cargo in 2011, down -3.6% from 2010. Load factor fell -2.5 points to 70.8% LF.

(QTA) took its 35% equity interest in (CLX) in June 2011, becoming the second-largest (CLX) shareholder behind Luxair (LUX).

(QTA) has taken delivery of its first of 30 787s. The airplane, the first to be delivered to an airline in the Middle East, will be used on its Dubai, Delhi, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, and Zurich routes. (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said the new airplane will “add value to its fleet and network expansion plans.”

The 787 cabins are configured with 22C seats in business class and 232Y in economy. The 787 Dreamliner features in-flight Wi-Fi Internet and mobile phone connectivity provided by OnAir. (QTA) has a total of 60 787 Dreamliners on order, all of which will be equipped with the OnAir network. (QTA) has been using OnAir for its fleet of A320s since 2009.

(QTA) flies to 120 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

December 2012: Qatar Airways (QTA) is considering taking part in the privatization of (CSA) Czech Airlines. The Czech government announced it was in the early stages of talks with both (QTA) and Korean Air (KAL) over the national airline. "We have studied it but have not concluded anything," (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker told "Reuters" when asked about his airline’s involvement with (CSA)’s privatization. "We are still looking at the proposal," he added.

Czech Prime Minister, Petr Necas said in November the government was seeking a strategic partner for the loss-making airline, which reported a loss of -$12.1 million in 2011. It is nearing the end of a three-year restructuring plan and has received European Commission (EC) approval for a $130 million loan from a state-owned organization.

In 2009, the government was unsuccessful in its attempts to privatize (CSA) following heavy losses from a failed expansion plan. However, it now hopes to find an investor by as early as April.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched regular flights to Warsaw (WAW), and now offers four-weekly frequencies on the 3,900 km route from its Doha (DOH) hub. Michael Marzec, Director of the Warsaw Airport, underlined the benefits: “While a slight decline has been observed in demand levels, it is not the case for premium segments, which are bound to be attracted by the new service.” Notably, one-stop travel to a range of worldwide destinations from Warsaw is now possible, including connections to Australia. (QTA) will operate the route using A320s. Emirates (EAD) will begin to serve Warsaw from Dubai in early February 2013.

(QTA) will launch 3X-weekly, Doha - Chengdu A330 service on March 19.

(QTA) launches Doha - London Heathrow services using its new 787 on 13 December. Initially, one of (QTA)'s five daily flights will be operated with the 787. Flight QR075 will depart Doha at 06:25 local, arriving at Heathrow at 11:05. The return flight, QR076, leaves Heathrow at 15:05, arriving in Doha at 00:45. (QTA) becomes the first airline to serve the UK hub using the new 787. It also plans to deploy 787s on Doha – Perth from February 1 next year.

(QTA) took delivery of its first 787 earlier this month and has been operated on intra-Gulf routes to allow (QTA)'s staff to familiarizse themselves with the new airplane.

Its second of 60 787 Dreamliners has also arrived in Doha.

(QTA) has altered its order for the forthcoming A350 XWB, moving to the larger models in the range. (QTA) had previously ordered 80 airplanes spread across the three-model range (20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s, and 20 A350-1000s. (QTA)’s amended order comprises 43 A350-900s and 37 A350-1000s. (QTA) is the latest of several airlines to change its order from the smaller A350-800 version to the larger-capacity models.

The move to increase the order for the A350-1000 is potentially significant for Airbus (EDS), as Al Baker has previously been critical of the variant’s performance.

The following is an end of the year (2012) summary of the progress of Qatar Airways (QTA). SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-2012-12 - QTA GROWTH LAST 5 YEARS."

(QTA)'s progress has been somewhat intertwined with two other Middle East carriers: Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD), and their success has resulted in them being referred to as the "Middle East Big Three (MEB3)." The following includes a lot of excellent data researched and presented by Hanna Schaal (PROLOGIS) and Thomas Jaeger (ch-aviation) Their condensed market study very clearly shows how these "(MEB3)" are revolutionizing the airline industry and exerting pressure on the traditional market leaders and their alliances. They opened their study with "Nothing is as constant as change, but hardly ever before has change been as dynamic as it is today."

The (MEB3) have extended their networks, frequencies and overall capacity massively during the last five years, despite the ongoing global financial crisis. As could be expected, Asia and Europe are the two markets with the highest number of routes served by the (MEB3), with Africa being a distant third. Europe has grown the most in terms of new routes being added (62.5% more routes being served now) among these markets. The Americas are growing much faster but from a much lower base. (EAD) has served the most destinations on every continent (with the exception of Asia/Middle East) back in 2007 and still does today, but (QTA) has been able to narrow that margin in Africa and Europe in the meantime. It has also started expanding to Australia and Latin America during the last five years.

While the (MEB3) have grown the number of routes served by +46.1% over the last five years, frequencies have actually increased by +80.4%, showing that the carriers have started to concentrate on serving existing routes more frequently than before. The average weekly frequency per destination has increased from 8.44 to 10.41 weekly flights. (EAD) on average, offers 12.11 weekly flights to each destination already and has increased frequencies on many European routes for example to at least two daily services allowing connections during its two biggest connection banks in Dubai. This is making the (MEB3)’s product more appealing to business (C) travelers who value frequency more than leisure travelers.

Weekly Capacity has grown even slightly faster at 83.7% (ASK), indicating the deployment of larger airplanes in the (MEB3)’s fleets. From the hubs at Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai, the (MEB3) now offer a total of 853,659 seats per week compared to just 464,729 back in 2007. (EAD) has essentially doubled its capacity in just five years’ time with (QTA) not far behind. (EHD) has grown slower during the same timeframe, showing its more conservative and collaboration driven growth approach.

Last but not least, the weekly number of Available Seat Miles (ASM) has grown by +109.8%, clearly indicating that the (MEB3) are starting to increasingly serve destinations further away from their hubs, and have introduced more long-haul routes to their networks. (EAD) alone almost offers double the number of (ASM)s as the other two Gulf carriers together, also thanks to its high number of non-stop services from Dubai to the Americas and Australia.


More detailed statistics on Qatar Airway (QTA)’s network growth are provided below (maps generated by Great Circle Mapper highlighting new routes in yellow and routes cut in red):

Qatar Airways (QTA) network changes by Continent:


Added (5): Benghazi, Entebbe, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Maputo.


ASIA (12+5):

Added (15): Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Baghdad, Bangalore, Chongqing, Erbil, Goa, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Madinah, Phuket, Shiraz, Tokyo.

Dropped (3): Cebu, Damascus, Nagpur.

Future Additions (5): Chengdu, Gassim, Najaf, Phnom Penh, Salalah.


EUROPE (14):

Added (15): Ankara, Baku, Barcelona, Belgrade, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Nice, Oslo, Sofia, Tbilisi, Venice, Warsaw, Zagreb.

Dropped (1): London Gatwick.



Added (2): Houston, Montreal.

Future Additions (1): Chicago.



Added (2): Melbourne, Perth.



Added (2): Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo.


January 2013: Qatar Airways (QTA) inaugurated services on the 800 km route from its Doha (DOH) hub to Qassim (ELQ) on 7 January, making the latter the fifth destination it serves in Saudi Arabia. Four-weekly flights are operated on the route using (QTA)’s fleet of A320s. (QTA) launched 4X-weekly, Doha - Najaf service. It will also launch Doha service to Phnom Penh (February 20); Chengdu (March 19); Chicago (April 10); and Salalah (May 22).

American Airlines (AAL) has sealed a deal with Qatar Airways (QTA) to code share on each other's flights. (AAL) officials say it will allow the two airlines to improve flight schedules and connection times. "Our extensive code share relationship with (QTA) will provide our customers with easy, premium access when traveling to and from the Middle East and beyond," Kurt Stache, (AAL)'s VP Strategic Alliances, said. "This new code share relationship with (QTA) is another example of how (AAL) is focused on building its global network through closer coordination with its Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners around the world."

The agreement will involve code sharing on nonstop flights between the USA and Doha, flights connecting at the carriers' European gateways, such as Paris and London, and flights to cities in the USA and beyond Doha.

(QTA) added Najaf (NJF) in central Iraq to its offering from Doha (DOH) on 23 January. (QTA), which already operates to Erbil and Baghdad, now operates four-weekly services to Najaf using its A320s. Akbar Al Baker, (QTA)’s CEO, said: “Iraq is proving to be an important market for (QTA). The start of our services to three cities in the country within a short span of time emphasizes the value and importance of tourism, trade and business links between Qatar and Iraq.” While there is no direct competition on the 1,000 km route, flydubai (FDB) offers thrice-weekly schedule from Dubai, which it launched in January 2012.

(QTA) prides itself on its five-star service levels, although until now, that description would not have applied to its main hub airport. The terminals at Doha are nice, but with no contact gates available, all passengers have to be bused across the airport, sometimes with multiple stops. That will all soon change when the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) opens in 2013. The exact opening date has not yet been made public, following delays in the completion of lounges in the terminal. But once (NDIA) is ready, (QTA) will for the first time have a home base that is designed for connecting traffic.

(QTA) has said that it would have filed a legal $600 million USD legal claim against Lindner Depa Interiors blaming the German-(UAE) joint venture for a delay to the opening of the new Doha New International (OTHH) airport originally scheduled for December 12, 2012. The airport is now expected to open in mid-2013 as a result of delays to terminal interior work including passenger lounges. Lindner Depa has refuted the claims, saying it would not have a contract with Qatar Airways (QTA) but with the airport operator and the reason for its delivery delays would have been caused by the operator not giving it access to the building site in time.

Later, (QTA) confirmed that Doha's new international airport Doha Hamad International (OTHH) will be opened for scheduled passenger operations on April 1. The airport has just recently been officially named Hamad International Airport after the country's ruling Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Initially, twelve airlines, including some low-cost carriers (LCC)s are expected to operate from the new airport while Qatar Airways (QTA) will continue to operate from the old airport until the interior construction of premium passenger lounges has been completed at the new facility later in 2013. No details are known yet on the carriers that are planning to move from April 1 already.

(QTA) is the first carrier to use the new Required Navigation Performance-Authorization Required (RNP-AR) approach into Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport. (RNP-AR) enables airplanes (in this case an A320) to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids.

Kathmandu has one of the world’s most complicated approaches because of challenging terrain associated with its location in the Himalayas. The (RNP-AR) approach reduces pilot (FC) workload, optimizes airspace utilization, and can reduce diversions in adverse weather conditions.

(QTA) partnered with Quovadis, the Airbus (EDS)-owned flight operations services company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to design and implement the Kathmandu (RNP-AR) procedure.

1 777-3DZER (41741, A7-BAW), 787-8 (38321, A7-BCC), and A330-243F (1350, A7-AFV), ex-(F-WXAD), deliveries.

February 2013: Qatar Airways ((IATA) Code: QR, based at Doha International (DOH)) (QTA) is currently planning to launch operations with its first of three A330-300XF freighters on March 1. The new cargo airplanes will gradually replace (QTA)'s three A300-600F freighters with the last A300 flight currently scheduled for May 6.

March 2013: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced operations on the route from its Doha (DOH) base to Phnom Penh (PNH) on 20 February, becoming the first Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) carrier to serve Cambodia. Daily services are now operated via Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) using A330-200s. (SGN) is not the first destination (QTA) serves in Vietnam – daily flights to Hanoi are offered via Bangkok. Commenting on the launch was (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker: “Though Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia, it has an air travel market that is highly underserved. (QTA) is here to fill this void.” Cambodia is an increasingly attractive destination for tourism, with the international tourist arrivals climbing an astonishing +24% up to 3.6 million in 2012.” Notably, the Middle Eastern airlines will benefit from the historic connection Cambodia has to France, as it offers onward flights to both France and Canada. Emirates Airline (EAD) provides indirect competition on the first leg serving Ho Chi Minh City from its Dubai hub with also daily frequencies.

(QTA) will begin 4X-weekly, A320 services to Irag. Doha - Basra begins June 3; Doha - Sulaymaniyah on August 20.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have signed a one-way code share agreement to connect the airline's networks via New York's John F Kennedy airport and Washington Dulles airport, subject to receipt of government approval. Under the deal, (JBL) customers can travel through Qatar Airways (QTA)'s connecting service to destinations across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific regions, including 12 cities in India and a number of destinations including Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Kuwait, Riyadh, Islamabad, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The two airlines have been interline partners since 2011.

(QTA) has reported further effects from the grounding of its 787-8s, announcing frequency reductions on one new route and a launch postponement on another. The 787 has been grounded worldwide since January 16. (QTA)’s planned daily non-stop, Doha - Chicago O’Hare service, slated to get underway on April 10, will initially be operated only 3X-weekly, (QTA) said. However, (QTA) said it will increase to the planned daily frequency from June 15.

Additionally, the launch of 3X-weekly flights between Doha and Chengdu (in central China), which was intended to start on March 19, has been postponed indefinitely. The announcements come as (QTA) works to adjust capacity on routes as a result of the grounding of its 787 Dreamliners. Passengers with tickets for the affected services are being rebooked on alternative flights and routings.

See video "QTA 777-200LR AT DUBAI AIRSHOW 2011 PART 2" - -

April 2013: Offering the longest sector length of any of the new routes started this month at 11,478 km, Qatar Airways (QTA) launched its Doha (DOH) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) service, becoming its fourth destination in the USA on 10 April. Initially being operated thrice weekly by (QTA)’s 335-seat 777-300s, the service will be upgraded to daily from 15 June. “I would like to take this special opportunity to thank the people of Chicago and local airport authorities for their great support in helping (QTA) launch passenger flights to this vibrant city,” said (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker at the launch ceremony.

(QTA) will begin 4X-weekly A320 services to Iraq. Doha - Basra begins June 3; Doha - Sulaymaniyah on August 20.

The official opening of Qatar’s new $15 billion Doha Hamad International Airport, which was set to open April 1, was postponed just hours before the first airplane was due to touch down.

According to local press reports, journalists had been told to arrive at the airport at 10:30 pm March 31 in preparation for the first service (a Qatar Airways (QTA) flight) to touch down at 00:30 April 1. However, when they did, they were informed the official opening had been postponed to an unspecified future date.

Qatar’s "The Peninsula" newspaper cited Abdulaziz Al Noaimi, Chairman of the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee, as saying the postponement had become necessary as the airport did not meet newly introduced safety and security requirements demanded by the Arabian Gulf nation’s Civil Defense Department.

The precise reason for the decision was not given, but the "Associated Press" noted that a wholesale review of safety systems was being undertaken in all public buildings since a mall fire in Doha last year killed 19 people.

The airport is due to have an initial annual capacity of 30 million passengers, rising to 50 million by 2020 when the facility is completed. The airport’s opening date has repeatedly slipped since the originally mooted 2009.

Qatar Airways (QTA) and Boeing (TBC) are in talks regarding the 777X, (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said. “We could be interested in that airplane,” he said. “It will have a few more passengers [compared to the 777-300ER], but much less fuel burn. Nevertheless, this would be a big investment and we have to analyze if this [investment] covers the current 777.”

The Boeing 777X is the next-generation 777.

Al Baker sees the A350-1000 as the competitor for the 777X. “We need the A350 for growth and replacement of our A330 fleet. Also, the [A350] airplane will be available four to five years earlier than the 777X,” he said. “I couldn’t wait. The 777X may be ready by the end of the decade. That’s why we go for the A350,” which should be available earlier.

The fast-expanding (QTA) had previously ordered 80 airplanes spread across the three-model range (20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s. (QTA)’s amended order comprises 43 A350-900s and 37 A350-1000s.

In other fleet news, (QTA) is expecting delivery of its first A380 this month.

Al Baker plans to launch another 12 new routes this year, “but this depends on the 787 issue.” All five (QTA) 787s are grounded. “To us, the airplane was performing perfectly. But I’m not talking about the technical performance, [such as] fuel burning.” The grounding of the 787s delayed opening of new destinations. Because of the grounding, “utilization of other airplanes has gone higher,” he said.

Al Baker said increased seat capacity on several airplanes has led to improved economical performance. “The Boeing 777LR is a very heavy airplane, but it gives us the unlimited range where we want to go. (QTA) operates nine 259-seat, 777-200LRs.

“We [are] reconfiguring our four A340-600s by adding additional 60 seats and removing first (F) class,” he said. The A340-600 offers 306 seats.

May 2013: The "Financial Times" (FT) reported that Qatar Airways (QTA) has approached the International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), with an informal offer to become the company’s largest shareholder by buying the 12% stake held by Spain’s nationalized lender Bankia.

The (FT) said (QTA) had approached the (IAG) to ask whether the company would welcome it as a shareholder. The financial daily cited one of those people as saying the initial approach was made last year, though it wasn’t clear which Qatari entity would buy the Bankia stake.

A third person familiar with the matter told the (FT) that the (IAG) had informed Bankia of the interest from Qatar (QTA) about three months ago. “This is an issue for Bankia and we’re not going to comment further,” an (IAG) spokeswoman told "Reuters."

Earlier this year, Bankia (the biggest failed bank in Spain’s history) hired Rothschild to help sell its stakes in companies including power group Iberdrola and insurer Mapfre, as the bank rebuilds its capital.

Later, however, Qatar Airways (QTA) through its (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, says it is “not interested” in purchasing a 12% stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG) currently held by Spain's nationalized lender, Bankia. The news comes after "The Financial Times" recently reported that the state of Qatar had sounded out (IAG) with an informal offer to become the company's largest shareholder by buying the 12% stake held by Bankia. Al Baker also said he was “not aware” that any other Qatari entity had an interest in the Bankia stake. “Any other entity will not get into any kind of discussion in an airline, or an airline stake, without asking Qatar Airways (QTA),” said Al Baker. (QTA) already has a prominent investment in UK aviation after Qatar Holding, an investment arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, last year agreed to buy a 20% stake in Heathrow airport Holdings, the owner of London Heathrow (LHR), for GBP900 million. Akbar Al Baker is one of two Qatari representatives on the Heathrow board.

In March 2014, (QTA) will make Philadelphia its sixth North American destination after New York, Washington, Chicago, Houston, and Toronto, all cities with far greater international air service. Philadelphia, however, does have a unique attraction for (QTA) in that it is at present, the soon to be former main base of US Airways (AMW)/(USA) before completing its merger with American Airlines (AAL) and all three will be part of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance. Philadelphia, with its population of 6,018,800, is the 6th largest in the USA behind New York (19,831,858), Los Angeles (13,052,9212), Chicago (9,522,434), Dallas (6,700,991), and Houston (6,177,035), and thus the largest US city that has not yet had direct flight services from the Gulf countries.

(QTA) serves 74 countries, 133 destinations and 168 routes.

(QTA) has reportedly said it would receive compensation from Boeing (TBC) for the January 16 grounding of (QTA)’s five 787s, which should be placed in service with battery system modifications before the end of the month. “We will get compensation because we took airplanes we couldn’t fly. Boeing (TBC) understands that,” (CEO), Akbar Al Baker has been quoted by "Reuters" as saying.

(QTA) is in talks with Airbus (EDS) to buy up to 15 of (EDS)’ A330 passenger jets, a deal potentially worth $3.6 billion at list prices, citing production delays to the 787 Dreamliner. “We are talking to Airbus (EDS) about A330s to fill in the gap that the 787 delays have caused (QTA). Anywhere between 10 and 15 (airplanes),” (CEO), Akbar al Baker told Reuters. “It’s a new order,” he said, adding the deal would be finalised by June’s Paris Air Show.

(QTA) says it is planning to deploy "ten narrow body airplanes" onto its planned Saudi Arabian domestic operation set to commence operations out of hubs in Riyadh King Khalid (RUH) and Jeddah King Abdul Aziz (JED) later this year. In addition, (QTA) will operate under a different name. The winner of the other licence, Gulf Air (GUL), has yet to make public its plans, understandable given the state of its ongoing restructuring program. To cope with the anticipated upsurge in passenger numbers, the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) is spending billions on upgrading the kingdom's airports though local players think otherwise, among them the (CEO) of nasair (NAZ) (Saudi Arabia), Francois Bouteiller, who claims the entrance of (QTA) and Gulf Air (GUL) will be “chaotic” due to "insufficient infrastructure" in the kingdom.

(QTA) is in talks with Indian budget carrier, IndiGo Airlines (IGO), over a possible code sharing agreement, (CEO), Akbar Al Baker has said, but denied (QTA) is interested in buying a stake in any Indian carriers, including Spicejet (ROJ). Mr Al Baker said the rumors of any buyout were unfounded claiming "he doesn't have so much money to buy stakes in them." Regional rival, Etihad Airways (EHD), recently signed a deal with Jet Airways (JPL) which saw (EHD) taking a 24% stake in (JPL). A drastically liberalized bilateral air services agreement signed between India and the (UAE) will also put added pressure on (QTA).

Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo has refreshed its fleet with three new A330-200Fs. The new freighters replace the same number of A300F airplanes that have been retired from the fleet.

“The arrival of the A330-200F comes at a time when (QTA)’s Cargo is undergoing significant development and growth. The opening of our brand new $1 billion cargo facility at Hamad International Airport later this year will see Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo handle 1.4 million tonnes of cargo annually, more than tripling the capacity of the existing facility.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo will deploy the A330-200F on routes including Amsterdam, Amman, Cairo, Colombo, and Chennai, complementing operations of the fleet’s four 777Fs. A fifth 777F is due to arrive in June.

(QTA) Chief Officer Cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann said the expansion plans and innovation initiatives will position the carrier as a leading freighter provider in the Middle East and internationally.


Qatar Airways (QTA) resumed 787 services between Doha and London Heathrow after the worldwide grounding of the 787 in January. (QTA) was the first to launch 787 Dreamliner flights to the UK in December, and the return to service means it remains the only airline to operate scheduled 787 flights to and from the United Kingdom.


June 2013: Qatar Airways (QTA) upped its frequency on Doha - Paris from 18X-weekly, to 21X-weekly.

UTC Aerospace will provide Qatar Airways (QTA) comprehensive nacelle maintenance, repair and overhaul for A300s powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW4000)s and A320s powered by (V2500)s. The agreement is for 10 years and work will be done in Dubai.

787-8 (38322, A7-BCD) and 777-fdz (39644, A7-BFE) deliveries.

July 2013: Over the last two years the three major Gulf carriers (Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD), and Qatar (QTA)) have expanded their operations in Southeast Asia by more than >50%. Assuming at least one third of their Southeast Asian passengers are heading or originating in Western Europe, Gulf carriers now carry more passengers between the two regions than their European competitors.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch thrice-weekly flights from Doha to Addis Ababa on September 18. (QTA) will use an A320. (QTA) will be the route's sole operator.

787-8 (38323, A7-BCE), delivery.


August 2013: The State of Qatar gained independence in 1971, and thanks to its oil wealth has, in recent years, begun to make a major impression on the world stage. One of its leading promoters is the country’s national airline, Qatar Airways (QTA), which began operations in 1994 and has grown rapidly in recent years under the leadership of (CEO), Akbar Al Baker. (QTA) currently has a fleet of over >120 airplanes, which includes a small number of pure freighter airplanes. Unlike its local rival Emirates (EAD), which only operates wide body airplanes, (QTA) operates a mix of single-aisle and twin-aisle airplanes. Its short-haul fleet comprises all A320-series airplanes, while the long-haul fleet is a mix of A330s and A340s, as well as 777s and more recently, 787s.

The difference between the two nations does not end there. Whereas Dubai and the (UAE) is predominantly chasing the tourism dollar, Qatar has elected to follow a different path by trying to attract business people, and in particular, is building up its conference and exhibition portfolio. The 551 meter and 112-storey high Doha Convention Center Tower (set to be the world’s second tallest tower), which will open in the 4th quarter 2015 in the West Bay Area, is just one example of how Qatar is pursuing this different path.

The current Doha Airport has grown rapidly in the last five years. In 2007, the facility handled less than <10 million passengers, but since then, passenger numbers have grown each year by at least +15% per annum, except for 2009 when traffic grew by a more modest +7%. In 2012, driven by the dynamic growth of Qatar Airways (QTA), the airport saw an increase in passengers of +17%, resulting in over >21 million passengers passing through the airport’s terminals. For the first half of 2013, the airport’s growth trajectory has been moderated, but at 8%, it will still be the envy of many global airports. For the full year, the airport is predicting double-digit growth approaching 11%.

Although considerably smaller than Emirates (EAD) in terms of total passenger numbers, (QTA)’s network is rivalling that of its bigger rival, though with lower frequency and smaller airplanes on many routes. Since the beginning of 2010, (QTA) has launched scheduled passenger services to more than >40 destinations across the globe. Europe has been a major focus for expansion in recent years, but in 2013 (QTA) appears to be concentrating its route development on destinations closer to home, with new routes to Basra (Iraq), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), and Salalah (Oman) already launched in 2013, along with longer-haul services to Chicago O’Hare (USA) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

With Qatar Airways (QTA) set to join the Oneworld (ONW) alliance within the next 12 months, it is not clear what impact this may have on (QTA)’s network strategy, but Philadelphia in the USA is currently the only destination scheduled to launch in 2014.

With a small local population, and a developing tourism and conference market, (QTA) is heavily reliant on connecting traffic at its Doha hub. Analysis of (QTA)’s arrivals and departures for a particular day (Monday September 9) reveals how (QTA)’s 170 daily departures and arrivals are spread across four main ‘banks’ of flights across the day. On this particular day, (QTA)’s busiest hours for movements is between 23:00 and 23:59, when there are 25 movements (22 arrivals and three departures), as well as between 01:00 and 01:59 (one arrival and 24 departures). Just two hours later, there are just two airplane movements.

Qatar Airways (QTA) accounts for just over three-quarters of all flights at Doha Airport. Around 30 other airlines offer scheduled services at the airport, with Emirates (EAD) and flydubai (FDB) leading the way with around 4% of seat capacity each, on their services to Dubai, located less than <400 km away. Etihad Airways (EHD) and Gulf Air (GUL) also offer multiple daily flights to nearby Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, respectively. European carriers present at the airport include British Airways (BAB), (KLM), Lufthansa (DLH) and Turkish Airlines (THY), while Jet Airways (JPL) is the leading Asian carrier offering daily flights to Delhi, Kochi and Mumbai. From June, Pegasus Airlines (PGS) of Turkey joined Air Arabia (ABZ) and flydubai (FDB) as recognized low cost carriers (LCC)s operating at the airport, offering flights from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen airport.

To help facilitate further air transport growth, Qatar has invested in an all-new facility, to be known as Hamad International Airport, which is scheduled to open later this year. With two 4,000 m runways, and with phased terminal developments, the airport will be capable of handling at least 50 million passengers per annum. In terms of global events, Qatar already hosts a round of the international MotoGP series (held under floodlights at night), and has held an annual Tour of Qatar cycling event each February since 2002. However, the country’s most ambitious challenge will be the hosting of the (FIFA) football (soccer) World Cup in the summer (or now possibly winter) of 2022. Due to concerns about the intense temperatures likely at that time of year, Qatar plans to build football stadia with a form of air conditioning. At the current rate of development, it is quite possible that by then, Qatar Airways (QTA) will serve every country that qualifies for the event.


Qatar Airways (QTA) has renewed its five-year service agreement with Jeppesen to add electronic flight bag (EFB) services to its commercial air operations. Under the new agreement, (QTA) will add Jeppesen's FliteDeck Pro (EFB) service to its iPads, and will also expand its FliteDeck Pro service on their (EFB) class 2 equipped A320s. (QTA) also has options under the agreement to expand Jeppesen (EFB) 3 services for its current fleet of 777 passenger jets.

"Qatar (QTA) is focused on (OEM) integrated (EFB) solutions and Jeppesen is pleased to support (QTA) in transitioning to a fully paperless operator and further enhancing efficient operations for the airline," said Tim Huegel, Director Aviation Portfolio Management at Jeppesen.

According to, Qatar Airways (QTA) is hiring pilots (FC). SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-FLIGHT CREW AD - 2013-08."

September 2013: Qatar Airways (QTA) inaugurated its new service from Doha (DOH) to Sulaymaniyah (ISU) on August 20th. The 1,290 km non-stop sector is being operated by A320s, and is offered four times weekly. (QTA) now serves five destinations in Iraq, including Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and Najaf. With the addition of Sulaymaniyah, (QTA) has increased its frequency to Iraq from 16 to 20 flights each week. The new service also marks (QTA)’s fifth new Middle Eastern destination launched this year, after Basra, Najaf, Gassim in Saudi Arabia, and Salalah in Oman. The soon-to-be Oneworld (ONW) alliance member’s network is planned to grow further, with additional services to China, Ethiopia, Philippines, and the USA being added between now and April 2014.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has launched its latest route to China with the introduction of thrice-weekly flights from Doha (DOH) to Chengdu (CTU) on September 3rd. It therefore becomes the second Middle East Big Three (MEB3) carrier (after Etihad Airways (EHD)) to serve China’s fifth busiest airport. Flights are operated by (QTA)’s two-class, 284-seat A330-200s. Chengdu becomes (QTA)’s sixth destination in China after Beijing, Chongqing (November 2011), Guangzhou (March 2008), Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ (CEO), said, “Qatar Airways (QTA) saw an immense potential to operate in Chengdu, which is set to play a critical role in the next wave of economic development in Western China. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have opened offices in the city, and that Chengdu is aiming to become China’s fastest growing aviation hub.” Last year, Chengdu Airport saw traffic growth of +8.7% to 31.6 million passengers. Chengdu, is the capital of China's Sichuan province and is ranked among China’s top five cities with a population of 14 million in its administrative area. Although the city is known for its giant pandas, it also has significant industries, including electronics, automotive and aerospace parts, medicine, food and tobacco processing, metallurgy and petroleum.

The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance has confirmed that Qatar Airways (QTA) will become a full member of the alliance on October 30, just one year after (QTA) was invited to join. The transition has involved (QTA) setting up working groups spanning 20 streams of activity. (QTA) is now finalizing a number of projects aimed at bringing its various internal processes and procedures into line with alliance requirements. After clearing an audit performed by sponsoring carrier British Airways (BAB), (QTA) has received the "all-clear."

“Qatar Airways (QTA) completed its Oneworld (ONW) Alliance implementation program just one year after receiving its invitation to join, announced at a press conference in (ONW)'s New York home in October 2012. This will make its induction into (ONW) as one of the fastest in the alliance's history. Normally it takes around 18 months for any airline to be readied to enter any alliance.”

The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance comprises airberlin (BER), American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Finnair (FIN), Iberia (IBE), Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS), (LAN) Airlines, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Qantas (QAN), Royal Jordanian (RJA), and S7 Airlines (SBR).

(QTA), which code shares with American Airlines (AAL) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS), will add more than +>20 new destinations and five countries to the (ONW) map. It is the first major Gulf carrier to enter into one of the three global alliances.

Qatar Airways (QTA)’s first Airbus A380, scheduled for delivery in March 2014, has departed Toulouse for cabin fitting and painting in Hamburg. (QTA) has 10 A380s on order, which will be configured with 517 seats. Earlier this year, CEO Akbar Al Baker said London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle will be among the type’s launch routes. (QTA) has hinted it is likely to formalize its first A380 routes at the Dubai Air Show, where further airplane orders may be in the pipeline. Al Baker has publically voiced an interest in both the Boeing 777X and Bombardier CSeries.

(QTA) will take delivery of its first A380 next March, followed by another two in 2014. Its first A350 is also due to arrive in 2014.


October 2013: Qatar Airways (QTA) has launched services from its Doha (DOH) hub to Addis Ababa (ADD) in Ethiopia. On September 18, (QTA) started operating thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights between the two cities using (QTA)’s narrow body A320s.

(QTA) celebrated the launch of its new route to Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, by providing school uniforms and books for school-age children participating in the "Our Father’s Kitchen" program. Our Father’s Kitchen is a feeding program which provides daily meals for approximately 216 underprivileged children in three different neighborhoods of the Addis Ababa community. SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-2013-10 - ADDIS ABABA START."

Qatar Airways (QTA) now serves six destinations in Saudi Arabia with the addition on October 2nd of Ta’if (TIF). The route from Doha (DOH) will be served four times weekly using (QTA)’s narrow body A320s. With this new service (QTA) now operates 69 flights a week to Saudi Arabia.

(QTA) inaugurated services on the 7,200 km route from its Doha (DOH) hub to Clark (CRK) on October 27. Clark, (QTA)’s second destination in the Philippines after Manila, is now linked to the Middle-Eastern hub with daily flights. A330-300s are deployed on the route, on which (QTA) is the sole operator.

(QTA) plans to launch four weekly, 777-200 flights between Doha International Airport (DOH) and Miami International Airport (MIA) starting June 10, 2014. In the USA, (QTA) currently serves Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, New York (JFK) and Washington Dulles. It will add Philadelphia in April 2014, giving it six USA destinations when Miami comes on board next June.

The 777-200 operated on the (DOH) - (MIA) route will be in a two-class configuration with 42C business-class seats and 217Y in economy.

Qatar Airways (QTA) intends to launch four weekly, A330 services from Doha to Hangzhou in eastern China, 138 km from Shanghai, where (QTA) already operates a daily service. Hangzhou becomes (QTA)'s sixth Chinese destination, bestowing (QTA) with the title of serving more Chinese cities than any other non-Asian carrier. The previous holders of this title were (KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH) with five cities.

Hangzhou can be an alternative to Shanghai thanks to a high-speed rail link that connects the two cities in as little as 45 minutes. But Hangzhou also has its own local market, including one of China's wealthiest (and by some counts the wealthiest) population pool. Hangzhou is also near significant trading ports.

In Hangzhou, (QTA) will join Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) and (KLM), the only other non-Asian carriers at the airport, China's 10th largest. This report looks at Hangzhou both for its own market and as an alternative to congested Shanghai. Another report will look at the overall positioning of Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD), (QTA) and Turkish Airlines (THY) in China.

Qatar Airways on October 29th became the 13th member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance and the first major Gulf carrier to join a global alliance. In a signing ceremony in Doha, (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said Oneworld (ONW) Alliance membership is a win for the alliance, for Qatar and for (QTA)’s customers. “We are convinced that the time is right to join a global alliance group and the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance is clearly the best,” Al Baker said.

(QTA), which is just 16 years old, adds 21 new cities to the (ONW) Alliance, bringing the (ONW) alliance’s number of destinations to more than >900. It will increase (ONW)’s total (RPK)s by +3.3% and (RPK)s in the Middle East region by +90%.

British Airways (BAB) was the sponsor for (QTA)’s membership and the induction process was completed within one year, the quickest ever. (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said (QTA)’s membership was “without question the most significant and positive event in (ONW) for a long time.”

Al Baker said that as a young carrier, he wanted to wait and be sure to select the best alliance for (QTA) and the alliance for which (QTA) could bring the most benefit. “We wanted to be a part of a high-class alliance so when we were invited [to join (ONW)] we very quickly accepted and we assured our (ONW) partners that we will never fail them,” he said.

(QTA)’s membership comes at an interesting time for (ONW) and the major Gulf carriers. Qantas (QAN), a Oneworld (ONW) Alliance founding member, has formed a five-year alliance with Emirates (EAD). Airberlin (BER) joined (ONW) March 2012 and has a strategic alliance with Etihad (EHD), which has a 29% stake in (BER).

Oneworld (ONW) Alliance (CEO), Bruce Ashby said that one of the reasons the (ONW) alliance is now growing so fast is because it does not believe in preventing its members from forging their own bilateral relationships. “(ONW) has adopted a flexible approach to bilateral relationships,” he said. “We believe that an alliance that prevents its customers from doing what’s best for their business should go the way of the dinosaur.”

Ashby added, “Qantas (QAN) is very much a member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance and will continue to be so.”

The signing ceremonies were held at Doha’s new $15.5 billion Hamad International Airport, which has capacity for 28 million passengers a year and an approved plan to grow that to 50 million. Although the airport looks ready for service, an opening date has not yet been given.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is among several major carriers being courted by Boeing (TBC) as it finalizes plans for a larger version of its profitable 777 wide-body jet, which is expected to be launched at next month’s Dubai Airshow.

November 2013: At the Dubai Air Show, Qatar Airways (QTA) signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 50 777-9Xs. The 777Xs are powered by the General Electric (GE9X) engine. (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, said the 777-9X was Qatar Airways (QTA)’s “flagship airplane,” adding that the order was valued at $19 billion.

(QTA) has committed to five A300-200F freighters, with options for eight more, in a deal worth $2.8 billion.

Having announced its plans to serve Edinburgh earlier, Qatar Airways (QTA) is also looking to add three more destinations to its route portfolio next year: Prague and Amsterdam in Europe and also Rio de Janeiro (no doubt just in time for next year’s (FIFA) World Soccer Cup in Brazil - Doha is set to be the World Soccer Cup city in 2022).

Launching on May 28 with a five times weekly 787 service (Scotland’s first scheduled 787 Dreamliner service), Edinburgh is perhaps the most significant launch as its represents the first of the MEB3 airlines (Middle East Big 3 airlines = Emirates (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA)) to make the decision to start services at Scotland’s capital city ((EAD) flies double-daily with 777-300s into Glasgow). And when (QTA) launches passenger flights to Amsterdam, it will have completed the (MEB3) set: — with all three airlines then offering services.

Qatar Airways (QTA)’s planned arrival in Prague completes a good news week for the Czech capital, which has seen the return of Ryanair (RYR) next April from Dublin, as well as Air Transat (AIJ) starting weekly operations from Toronto next June. Equally, at Edinburgh, the airport will receive a huge long-haul boost next summer with the (QTA) service starting in the same week as United Airlines (UAL)’s seasonal five times weekly 757 service to Chicago O’Hare (launching May 23), as well as the recently announced US Airways (AMW)/(USA) seasonal six times weekly 757 route to Philadelphia (also launching May 23).

Meanwhile, when (QTA) adds these three new destinations to its existing new route list over the next six months, (QTA) will be close to serving 130 cities from its Doha hub. These launches include:

* December 20th 2013 — Hangzhou, four A330-200 flights per week (its sixth destination in China);

* March 1st 2014 — Dubai Al Maktoum and Sharjah, both double daily with A320s;

* April 2nd 2014 — Philadelphia, daily 777-300ER (its fifth USA destination);

* May 28th 2014 — Edinburgh, five 787 flights per week;

* June 10th 2014 — Miami, daily 777-200LR (its sixth USA destination).

(QTA) will launch service to Hangzhou in China in December, just months after it started serving Chengdu in September. (QTA) will operate the route four times a week from December 20 with an A330 airplane in a two-class configuration.

Hangzhou is the capital of the Zhejiang Province and is the fourth biggest metropolitan area in China. “The addition of our seventh route in China will provide additional connectivity for business and leisure travellers connecting from Asia, the Middle East and (GCC) countries. Just two months after the launch of the Chengdu service, we are able to offer our passengers even more options for flying into China with the addition of Hangzhou,” said (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker.

(QTA) began operations to China in 2003 when it started flying to Shanghai. It has since expanded it network to Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chongqing, and Chengdu.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch new domestic services in Saudi Arabia under the Al Maha Airways name, reports "Reuters." According to the news agency, (QTA)’s (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said Al Maha Airways would initially operate between the kingdom’s main cities, including Riyadh and Jeddah. “We have chosen the name of the Saudi carrier as Al Maha Airways. We hope to start operations in the first half of next year,” "Reuters" quoted Al Baker as saying. Saudi’s are among the highest spending travellers in the world but the air market has traditionally been a difficult one for foreign carriers to access. (QTA) is one of the first foreign airlines to get a carrier licence in Saudi Arabia. According to "Reuters," Al Baker added: “There is huge potential but also many challenges in the Saudi market. We have an undertaking from the Saudi authorities that they will resolve the two contentious issues of price cap and fuel subsidies.”

(QTA) is increasing capacity to Colombo, Sri Lanka by introducing a 777 on one of its three daily services to the city. All three daily frequencies are currently operated with a narrow-bodied A320 airplane. From January 1, a 777 will be placed on one daily rotation, introducing business (C) class on the route. The two-class configuration will see 356Y seats in economy and 24C seats in business class.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has contracted SR Technics (SWS) to upgrade the cabins of seven A330-200s. The agreement covers a full cabin reconfiguration with new seats and installation of Panasonic’s eX2 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, said (SWS), the Swiss (MRO) provider.

The (IFE) equipment will give passengers broadband access and certain mobile-phone capabilities. The A330-200 will be processed at (SWS)’ base in Zürich, where the work will run from this month until July 2014.

The maintenance provider (a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Mubdala Aerospace consortium) has a long-standing relationship with (QTA), which is now being expanded to complex cabin modifications, said André Wall, SR Technics (SWS)' President.

Qatar Airways (QTA) operates 19 A330-200s and 13 A330-300s.

December 2013: Oneworld (ONW) alliance carrier, Qatar Airways (QTA) is to open a new USA connection with non-stop daily services to Dallas-Fort Worth from the beginning of July next year. (QTA) will serve the route, its second in Texas after Houston, with Boeing 777-2D7LR twinjets. The airplane will be configured in two classes, it states, with 42C business- and 217Y economy-class seats. The route will tighten its links with Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier American Airlines (AAL).

(QTA) operates to four USA cities, comprising New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Houston. Dallas will increase this to seven, because (QTA) is also planning to operate to Philadelphia from April 2014 and Miami from June 2014.

(QTA) will commence flights to Larnaca International Airport from April 29. The four weekly route will be operated by an A320, and is (QTA)’s first service to Cyprus. Operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, flight QR265 will depart Doha at 8.10 am, arriving in Larnaca at 12.00 pm. The return flight, QR266, will depart Larnaca at 2.10 pm and arrive in Doha at 5.45 pm.

January 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) added Najaf (NJF) in central Iraq to its offering from Doha (DOH) on January 23rd. (QTA), which already operates to Erbil and Baghdad, now operates four-weekly services to Najaf using its A320s. Akbar Al Baker, (QTA)’s (CEO), said: “Iraq is proving to be an important market for (QTA). The start of our services to three cities in the country within a short span of time emphasizes the value and importance of tourism, trade and business links between Qatar and Iraq.” While there is no direct competition on the 1,000 km route, flydubai (FDB) offers a thrice-weekly schedule from Dubai, which it launched in January 2012.

Qatar Airways (QTA) increased its 14x-weekly, Doha - Khartoum A320 service to 17x-weekly.

(QTA) has reached agreement with Saudi authorities on solving problems that blocked its entry into Saudi Arabia's domestic market, and plans to start operating there by the end of the third quarter.

"We have already appointed a new (CEO) for the Saudi operations, and we are planning to launch the Saudi operations anytime between the middle to the third quarter of this year," (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

Saudi Arabia's price caps for domestic flights have hurt airlines' profit margins, while fuel subsidies have helped flag carrier, Saudia (SVA) compete against rivals.

Baker, speaking on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Airshow, said those issues had now been resolved, though he did not give details. "There is a compromise that has been accepted by the authorities regarding the price cap and the fuel price."

Saudi Arabia started opening up its aviation market in 2012 by awarding additional carrier licences. Population growth and rapidly rising incomes mean there is considerable room for expansion, analysts believe.

Currently, only Saudia (SVA) and budget airline, National Air Services (NTJ) serve a domestic market of about 27 million people. Foreign carriers can only fly in and out of Saudi Arabia, not within the country.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has previously said its Saudi domestic carrier will be called Al Maha Airways and will start with main cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah, before moving to second-tier cities.

Earlier, another new airline, Saudi Gulf Airlines, said it had signed a US$2 billion deal with Canada's Bombardier Inc to buy 16 CSeries jets with options for 10 more. It aims to start operating in the Saudi domestic market later this year or next year.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) Cargo will end its arrangement with Global Supply Systems (GSS), which operated three Boeing 747-8F freighters on its behalf. The move comes after British Airways (BAB), which formed (IAG) Cargo with Iberia (IBE)’s freight division, decided to pull out of the dedicated freighter airplane market.

Alas Air Worldwide Holdings (TLS) said British Airways (BAB) had terminated the lease agreement ahead of schedule. (TLS) shares fell as much as -19% in early trading on January 17th. (TLS) said the lease for three 747-8F airplanes operated by (TLS)'s UK subsidiary, Global Supply Systems (GSS) was terminated, following British Airways (BAB)'s decision to exit dedicated cargo-freighter service.

(GSS) was operating the three 747-8F airplanes for (BAB) and the lease agreement was originally scheduled to end in April 2014.

Atlas Air (TLS) said it would receive early termination fees from British Airways (BAB). (GSS) will redeliver the 747-8Fs to Atlas Air (TLS).

(IAG) Cargo will retain a dedicated cargo service, a 5x-weekly, London - Hong Kong route, which will be operated by Qatar Airways (QTA) Boeing 777Fs. Both British Airways (BAB) and (QTA) are members of the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. “This new partnership is an important step forward for us and enhances our relationship with (QTA),” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “It allows us to continue delivering significant capacity for our customers through the important gateway of Hong Kong. With the ongoing arrival of our next generation airplanes, (IAG) Cargo’s customers will now benefit from increased belly-hold capacity as well as the deployment of freighter services on capacity constrained routes.”

The delayed Hamad International Airport is on track for a phased opening by the middle of 2014. Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, Chairman of The Steering Committee of the New Doha International Airport, announced the date at a press conference held in the new passenger terminal. He said: "I am proud to confirm today that this project is nearly complete. (HIA) stands as a ground-breaking accomplishment fusing refined architectural style achieved through state-of-the-art airport and facility construction technology.

"The result is more than an airport; it is an international transport hub satisfying all the requirements of the fast-growing aviation sector in the region. This is needed in light of the growing traffic through and into the region, driven by world-scale events planned in the next decade." The US$15.5 billion planned hub for Qatar Airways has missed a series of launch dates, including the end of 2012, April 1, 2013 and the end of last year.

He added: "Despite delays, which were a result of changes requested during construction to expand the project, as well as challenges we faced regarding some contracts, we are on track for a mid-year opening." He said (HIA) will be larger and have greater capacity on its opening day than initially envisioned.

Due to increased transit growth in Qatar and the region in the past few years, modifications were necessary to deliver an airport with a capacity of 30 million on opening day. "The third phase was intended for a 2015 start but we preferred to accelerate the process and integrate all construction phases to complete the entire project in a shortened time," he said. "Progress on the project continues, with planning for construction of Airport City having started in 2012."

(HIA) and Airport City span a total of 29 sq km, 60% on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. More than 1,000 architects, designers, engineering consultants, and project managers worked on the project, through more than 200 local, regional and international contractors and service contracts. In its opening configuration, the terminal has three concourses and 33 contact gates, increasing to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380 in the final build-out.

The terminal also includes 16 lounges, 28 art installations, more than >100 (F&B) and retail outlets, a transit hotel, swimming pool, luxury spa and squash courts. An on-site public mosque will be able to accommodate 500 worshipers.

February 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) is launching an all-business (C) class flight from Doha to London Heathrow (LHR). (QTA) becomes the first carrier to operate an all-premium service between the Middle East and London. The new flight will start on May 15.

The service will operate daily using an Airbus A319 configured with a single aisle, 2-2 seating configuration offering 40C seats.

(QTA) already operates five daily flights to (LHR) and the new all-premium (C) flight will bring this to six a day.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “The London Heathrow - Doha route is one of (QTA)’s most popular international routes and it was only fitting that we introduce an all Business (C) Class service on this key route, where customers will also be able to benefit from our new (QTA) Premium lounge in (LHR)’s Terminal Four, and of course the Premium Terminal in Doha." - - SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-2014-02-BUSINESS CLASS TO LHR-2014-02."

Airbus A350 XWB flight test aircraft (MSN3) made its premiere appearance at Doha’s new Hamad International Airport, on its way to the Singapore Airshow. The visit is part of the entry-into-service (EIS) preparations between Airbus (EDS) and Qatar Airways (QTA) (the A350 XWB launch customer) that will take delivery of its first of the type in the fourth-quarter (SEE PHOTO - - "QTA-A350 XWB AT DOHA-2014-02"). To date, the A350 XWB has won 812 orders from 39 customers.

Qatar Airways (QTA) and FC Barcelona are taking their partnership to the skies as the airline introduces FC Barcelona's livery for the first time on a Boeing 777. The 777, which features the distinctive Barca scarlet and blue, or "Blaugrana" as it is known in Catalan, arrived from Bangkok to Doha International Airport.

Building on the concept of "a team that unites the world," which was first introduced in the popular TV spot created to support the partnership, the design incorporates the colorful Barca flag draped across the 777 fuselage.

The 777 was sent to Dublin, Ireland, where it took a team one week to hand paint the custom-made design. Using an airbrush, the team produced a shading effect to help create the illusion of the Barca flag moving as the 777 takes to the skies. Additional stenciling was used for the text as well as the football club's crest, which sits on the fuselage of the airplane.

(QTA) first revealed renderings of this 777's tailor-made design at a press conference in Barcelona last March. The introduction of the FC Barcelona livery, alongside the (QTA) Oryx logo, further cements the airline's commitment to the partnership, as well as their loyalty as Barca fans. Qatar Airways (QTA) and FC Barcelona have been fostering a successful partnership since it officially commenced in July 2013.

"Our commitment to Barca goes beyond having our name on the team jerseys. We are truly fans of the team and genuinely believe that together we are 'a team that unites the world'," said (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker. It is just one more way that we are able to demonstrate the strong partnership between our two organisations."

In the nearly eight months since the partnership has been in effect, (QTA) has launched a hugely successful partnership campaign including the "Land of FCB" TV commercial that has garnered more than eight million views from fans all over the world; officially sponsored the FC Barcelona Asia Tour, and introduced unique tour and match packages for fans looking to visit Barcelona through the (QTA) Holidays division.

In addition to the new livery, (QTA) recently unveiled branding at the team's Camp Nou stadium. The Boeing 777 featuring the livery will be flown to a number of destinations throughout the airline's global network, including North America, Europe, and Asia.

(QTA) has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation and currently has orders worth over >US$50 billion for more than >280 airplanes. (QTA) flies a modern fleet of 129 airplanes to 134 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America, and South America.

As part of its aggressive expansion program, (QTA) will launch routes to eight new destinations during 2014: Sharjah (UAE) from March 1; Dubai World Central (UAE) from March 1; Philadelphia (USA) from April 2; Larnaca (Cyprus) from April 29; Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (Turkey) from May 22; Edinburgh (Scotland) from May 28; Miami (USA) from June 10, and Dallas/Fort Worth (USA) from July 1.

March 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) began 5x-weekly, Doha - Edinburgh Boeing 787 service. (QTA) will begin A320 3x-weekly, Doha - Djibouti service on July 27.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo will start flying dedicated scheduled freighter services to Hyderabad and London Stansted, while restarting services to Zaragoza in Spain. (QTA) restarted flights to Zaragoza in Spain on March 1, with a twice-weekly A330F freighter service. (QTA) said it would primarily be carrying textiles, agricultural products, footwear, automobile and pharmaceutical products on the route.

Meanwhile, twice-weekly services to Hyderabad will start on April 1, with an A330f freighter airplane used on the route. (QTA) said the main exports on the route will be Information Technology (IT) products and pharmaceuticals.

And the following month, a new five-times weekly, 777F freighter flight will launch to London Stansted on May 2. “Our goal is to be a world-class air cargo service provider and in order to achieve that goal, we need to constantly increase frequencies and expand our number of destinations, so that our customers can benefit from our global reach,” said (QTA) Chief Officer Cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann.

“The addition of these new freighter routes clearly represent yet another milestone in (QTA)’s growth strategy,” added Ogiermann. “And on top of this, we will take delivery of three new freighter airplanes in the course of 2014: two 777Fs and one A330F.”

(QTA) is deploying a 787 Dreamliner to South Africa and ramping up frequencies on the Johannesburg route from May 1. (QTA) will add three flights a week to its currently daily schedule to South Africa’s commercial capital. (QTA) said the 10 weekly flights would “significantly improve connections to destinations” across its network, in particular to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, and Manila.

China is a major trading partner with South Africa and other Southern African states. (QTA) will also put a 787 onto the Johannesburg, Cape Town and Maputo, Mozambique routes. (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “In line with our commitment to offer our passengers more choice and the most exceptional travel experience, we are delighted to increase frequencies to South Africa and also to introduce (QTA)’s 787 Dreamliner on our routes to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Maputo.”

Qatar is the latest Persian Gulf country to apply for a controversial USA "preclearance" customs post, a development that could offer the region's government-owned carriers an advantage over other airlines.

Doha's new international airport, which is expected to open later this year, is in talks with USA authorities over such a post, according to Akbar Al Baker, the (CEO) of Qatar Airways (QTA).

A similar USA Customs & Border Protection facility that opened in Abu Dhabi earlier this year led to an uproar among USA pilot (FC) associations, which claim such posts would give Gulf carriers an unfair advantage over peers. The facility allows passengers to go through USA customs before boarding their flight and thus bypass the process after arriving in the USA. "This will enhance our product as we are growing in the United States," Mr Al Baker told reporters.

The growth of the Gulf region's three biggest carriers (Qatar (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD)) has irked some European and USA carriers, which have complained the Gulf airlines are funded by deep-pocketed governments that subsidize their cost base.

The Air Line Pilots Association (the largest pilot (FC) union in the USA, representing some 50,000 pilots (FC)) has objected to the Abu Dhabi facility, previously calling it an "example of bad USA government policy." Abu Dhabi, whose preclearance facility opened in January, was the 15th airport to secure such a post. Ireland's Shannon Airport was the first outside North America to open one of the USA facilities. Similar posts exist in Dublin and several Canadian airports as well as in Bermuda, Aruba and the Bahamas.

Etihad (EHD), which is based at the Abu Dhabi airport, plans to increase flights to New York this month and will launch service to Los Angeles in June and Dallas-Fort Worth in December. No USA carriers currently fly to Abu Dhabi, which is paying for about 85% of its preclearance facility.

The two other large Gulf carriers are also aggressively expanding in the USA market. (QTA) plans to start service to Miami, Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth this year, in addition to its routes to New York, Washington, Chicago and Houston. (EAD) said last week it intends to begin service to Chicago and will start flights to Boston from Dubai this month.

Dubai, which operates the world's second-busiest airport for international traffic, has also expressed an interest in setting up a pre-clearance facility.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has unveiled the cabin interior of its Airbus A380s, which features a new first-class product. SEE ATTACHED - - "QTA-A380 FIRST COACH ECONOMY CLASS - 2014-03." (QTA) plans to put the superjumbo into service this summer between Doha and London Heathrow.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said (QTA) is configuring its A380s with a three-class, 517-seat layout incorporating first (F) and business (C) class on the upper deck and economy (Y) on the upper and main deck. The eight-seat first-class (F) cabin is at the front of the upper deck and features a brand new lie-flat design offering 90 inch/229 cm pitch and equipped with a 48 cm (IFE) screen. The A380 is expected to be the only airplane in (QTA)’s fleet to feature a first-class (F) cabin once its four A340-600s have been retired.

The A380’s 48C-seat business-class cabin is in a four-abreast layout with seats similar to those on (QTA)’s Boeing 787s. Again, the seats are a lie-flat design.

The A380 economy (Y) cabins occupy the entire main deck and part of the upper deck, comprising 461Y seats in total. The main deck incorporates a 10-abreast 3-4-3 layout. The upper-deck economy (Y) cabin seats 56Y passengers, with (QTA)'s frequent flyers being given priority for these seats.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is due to take delivery of its first three A380s in June, to coincide with the opening of the new Doha International airport. The delivery of the first two airplanes has been pushed back from April and May to allow (QTA) to introduce the type when its new hub is operational. (QTA) has firm orders for 10 A380s and options for three more.

(QTA) will take an A380 to the Farnborough air show in July, where it will also display a Boeing 787-8 and a sharklet-equipped A320. (QTA)’s line-up will be completed by Airbus displaying an A350-900 in a hybrid scheme featuring Qatar Airways (QTA) titles.

April 2014: Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners, Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have reached a new code share agreement. The announcement came as (CAT) formally marked the inauguration of its new Hong Kong - Doha service, which began March 30. The twice-daily service is being followed by a major expansion of cooperation between the two carriers. It expands Qatar Airways (QAT)’s reach in Asia, while Cathay (CAT) will get greater access to Middle Eastern and European destinations.

From April, Cathay Pacific (CAT) flights between Hong Kong and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns, Adelaide, Auckland, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Seoul will carry Qatar Airways (QTA)’s QR code. Qatar Airways (QTA)’s flights between Doha and Jeddah, Nairobi, Athens, Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona, and Venice will reciprocate with Cathay Pacific (CAT)’s CX designator.

Cathay Pacific (CAT) (CEO), Ivan Chu said: “Cathay Pacific (CAT) has been serving the Middle East for more than >30 years and we are committed to developing our presence in this ever-growing market.”

Qatar (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said the new code share routes “will expand travel options for Qatar Airways (QTA) passengers across routes in Australasia and North Asia.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) has launched its first Doha - Philadelphia service, its sixth North American city in (QTA)’s network. It is the first foreign flag service to be introduced at Philadelphia International Airport in more than a decade.

The (QTA) Boeing 777 daily service is the first from Philadelphia to the Gulf region and is the 39th international city served from the airport.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin 4x-weekly Doha - Al Hofuf A320 service on May 15. (QTA) will double from 4x- to 8x-weekly, Gassim service. Also on May 15 will increase Madinah service from 5x- to 7x-weekly.

Doha’s long-delayed Hamad International Airport (HIA) will open April 30 with a “soft launch,” eventually switching 10 carriers to the new airport. The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) told 10 airlines:— (Bangladesh Biman Airlines (BNG), flydubai (FDB), Air Arabia (ABZ), Iran Air (IRN), Air India Express (AXB), Yemenia (YEM), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Nepal Airlines (RNA), Syrian Air (SYR), and Pegasus Airlines (PGS)) they can expect to move operations to the new airport on the last day of April.

National carrier Qatar Airways (QTA) is believed to be making the switch to the two-runway (HIA) on May 27, with other major carriers moving to (HIA) over the next few months.

The Qatari capital’s new airport had been due to open April 1, 2013 (the most recent of several planned dates) but the opening ceremony was called off just hours before the first airplane was due to touch down, apparently due to a failure to meet new safety and security requirements. In March, Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, Chairman of the steering committee of what was previously known as the New Doha International Airport, said (HIA) would undergo a phased opening by the middle of this year.

According to the (QCAA) website: “Despite delays, which were a result of changes requested during construction to expand the project, as well as challenges we faced regarding some contracts, we are on track for a mid-year opening.” It was added, “(HIA) will be larger and have greater capacity on its opening day than initially envisioned. Due to increased transit growth in Qatar and the region in the past few years, these modifications were necessary to deliver an airport with a capacity of 30 million on opening day.” The airport will eventually have an annual capacity of 50 million passengers.

May 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA), one of the Gulf’s “big three” carriers, has become fully state-owned after the nation’s sovereign wealth fund bought out private shareholders. The Qatar Investment Authority has bought the stakes owned by its former Prime Minister and other shareholders, (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

The purchase took place last July, but has only recently been revealed. It is understood that 50% of the airline was formerly in private hands.

(QTA) has become the first of the Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) airlines (Emirates (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and (QTA)) to serve Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), following on from its new route trail blazing, when it became the first of the three Middle Eastern mega carriers to start operations to Hofuf in Saudi Arabia. Starting on May 22nd, the service will operate from Doha (DOH), the world’s 66th largest airport, four times weekly using (QTA)’s 144-seat A320s. Direct competition comes in the form of Pegasus Airlines (PGS)’ daily connection on the airport pair. However, across town, Turkish Airlines (THY) offers 12 weekly flights and (QTA)'s 10 weekly flights from Istanbul Atatürk.

Qatar Airways (QTA) begins daily, Doha - Bali Boeing 787 service on July 21. (QTA) became the final Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) carrier to link Larnaca (LCA) with its respective Middle East hub, starting four weekly flights from Doha (DOH) on April 29th. The 2,026 km sector will be operated by (QTA)’s 144-seat A320s, and will face no direct airport pair competition.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has become only the fourth serving scheduled airline at Hofuf (HOF) (following flydubai (FDB), Air Arabia (ABZ) and Saudia (SVA), and the first of the Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) carriers to link the Saudi Arabian airport to its respective global network. Four times weekly flights from Doha (DOH) began on May 15th and will face no direct competition. Services will be operated by (QTA)’s A320/A321 fleet and Hofuf is (QTA)’s 7th destination in Saudi Arabia, joining Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Taif, and Gassim. (QTA) began 4x-weekly, Doha - Al Ahsa A320 service.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo began 5x-weekly, Doha - Stansted Boeing 777F service.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker has revealed his airline's interest in acquiring a stake in India's IndiGo Airlines ((IATA) Code: 6E, based at Delhi International) (IGO). Al Baker told the international media: “We will always be interested in a good opportunity that is win-win for both partners. We are very interested in IndiGo (IGO) if there is something available. However, the shareholders are doing very well there, so they have no need to sell.”

Operating a fleet of seventy-eight A320-200s, IndiGo (IGO) is India's largest low cost carrier (LCC), serving 36 destinations in India, Thailand, the (UAE), Nepal, Oman, and Singapore.

The (CEO) earlier this year lamented wasted opportunities to invest in airlines such as Air Seychelles (ASY), Air Berlin (BER) and Air Serbia (JAT) all of whom have now have passed into the portfolio of competitors Etihad Airways (EHD). Given its size and untapped potential, India is seen as the next El Dorado for civil aviation, if only one can overcome its cumbersome regulations and legendary bureaucracy.

Last year, Al Baker, while categorically rejecting rumors of a possible tie-up with IndiGo (IGO) rival (LCC) Spicejet ((IATA) Code: SG, based at Delhi International) (ROJ), noted that any investment in India would depend on clarity of investment laws and regulations.

"India is a huge market and a potentially lucrative one. While we have expressed interest in expanding our presence in India, we will only be interested in any potential investment, once we are sure regulations and laws are properly liberalized," he said.

Following a lengthy verification process, (EHD) successfully completed the acquisition of a 24% stake in Jet Airways ((IATA) Code: 9W, based at Mumbai International) (JPL) late last year, thereby becoming the first international carrier to take a significant shareholding in an existing Indian airline.

However, in contrast to its richer Abu Dhabi-based rivals, Al Baker has in the past noted that Qatar Airways (QTA), despite now being a 100% state-backed enterprise, it does not have the resources to wantonly buy stakes in other carriers. "I don't have so much money to buy stakes in airlines," he stated.

Qatar (QTA)’s much-delayed Hamad International Airport has opened and welcomed its first commercial flight on May 1.

The airport, designed to handle up to 30 million passengers per year, is reported to have cost around $15 billion as the Gulf state tries to establish itself as another Middle East hub. Until the airport is fully opened at the end of May, it will serve mostly regional low-cost carriers (LCC)s. However, full-service carriers (such as Qatar Airways (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD), Lufthansa (DLH), British Airways (BAB), Turkish Airlines (THY), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Etihad Airways (EHD)) are likely to take up slots in the next month or so.

With 138 check-in counters, and 65 gates across five separate terminal concourse buildings, the airport will also be able to handle Airbus A380 passenger traffic at eight gates.

Built mostly on reclaimed land, the new airport was started in 2004 to replace the existing Doha International Airport, but has seen many delays from the original target opening date in 2010.

The Qatari capital’s new airport had been due to open April 1, 2013 (the most recent of several planned dates) but the opening ceremony was called off just hours before the first airplane was due to touch down, apparently due to a failure to meet new safety and security requirements.

The airport, which is a major investment by Qatar, is currently being run with just 33 gates, but will expand over the next five years as demand ramps up, the operators said.

With more capacity planned (up to 70 million passengers per year has been reported) the airport is part of the Gulf state’s push to rival local Middle East airports as a key transport hub, buoyed partly by the award of the (FIFA) World Cup (of soccer/football) in 2022 and the construction of the New Port sea freight transport terminal in 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has inaugurated its new all-business (C) Doha - London Heathrow (LHR) service, deploying a 40C-seat Airbus A319-133 between the cities. Marking the launch of its "Business One" premium (C) operation - - SEE PHOTO - - "QTA-2014-05-BUSINESS A319," Qatar (QTA)’s A319-133 touched down at (LHR) for the first time on May 15.

The A319 has Qatar (QTA)’s Oryx in-flight entertainment system (IFE) and mobile phone connectivity. It is equipped with 40 wide seats, laid out in a 2-2 seating configuration, that recline into fully flat beds. It will serve (LHR)’s Terminal 4 daily, joining (QTA)’s five existing daily frequencies. The all-premium service takes (QTA)’s (LHR) - Doha service from 35 to 42 weekly flights. From June 17, Qatar (QTA) will deploy its new Airbus A380 on two of its standard Doha - (LHR) frequencies.

“The launch of our first all-premium product "Business One" reaffirms (QTA)’s determination to provide the best five-star service and comfort in the air for our business (C) class passengers. The Doha to (LHR) route is one of (QTA)’s most popular business (C) class destinations,” (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

Over the coming months, (QTA) will add new routes to Al Hofuf, Saudi Arabia (May 15), Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28), Miami, Florida (June 10), Haneda, Japan (June 18) and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (July 1).

Qatar Airways (QTA) will receive its first Airbus A380 in early June, with London Heathrow (LHR) being the type’s initial destination. (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said (QTA) would receive the first three of its order for 13 A380s in quick succession this summer, with (LHR) services starting June 17.

(QTA) also plans to switch all its hub operations to Doha’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) on May 27. (HIA) is four km from the existing Doha International Airport. Built mostly on reclaimed land, the new airport was started in 2004 to replace Doha International, but has seen many delays from the original target opening date in 2010.

The new airport will initially have three concourses capable of handling 30 million passengers annually. When two additional concourses are completed and open, the airport will be able to handle up to 50 million passengers a year.

Following a soft opening April 30, 10 airlines are already operating out of (HIA): Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BNG), flydubai (FDB), Air Arabia (ABZ), Iran Air (IRN), Air India Express (ABX), Yemenia (YEM), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Syrian Airlines (SYR), Pegasus Airlines (PGS), and Nepal Airlines (RNA). All other airlines will continue to operate out of the existing Doha airport until May 27.

On May 27th, Qatar Airways (QTA) officially transferred operations to Doha’s new Hamad International Airport. All airlines have now switched to the new facility.

The much-delayed Hamad International, which was originally planned to open in 2010, has now ramped up to full operations. “The moment we have all been building towards for many years, arrived today as (QTA) flight (QR1113) touched down, marking the historic start of our full operations at the world-class Hamad International Airport (HIA),” Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

The new airport, which is slated to replace Doha International, is designed to handle up to 30 million passengers per year. With 138 check-in counters, and 65 gates across five separate terminal concourse buildings, the airport will also be able to handle Airbus A380 passenger traffic at eight gates.

Hamad International opened to commercial flights May 1 and was initially used by regional budget carriers. It is located 16 km from the center of Doha and 4 km from the existing Doha International Airport.

(QTA) will operate the A380 in a three-class configuration. The airplane features a newly unveiled first-class (F) seat, which offers a 90-inch seat pitch and converts into a fully flat bed. According to (QTA), the seat unit will be the widest in the industry and will feature a 26-inch screen for entertainment options. There is also a privacy screen and increased personal storage. In addition, two passengers can sit across from each other while dining.

The new first-class (F) arrangement is one of a number of recent enhancements to the premium cabins offered by several airlines, including Etihad (EHD), Emirates (EAD) and AirFrance (AFA).

Qatar Airways (QTA) currently operates 132 airplanes and serves 74 countries, 141 destinations, 185 routes and 404 daily flights.

(QTA) has announced Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) as its second Airbus A380 destination after London Heathrow (LHR). (QTA) is due to take its first three A380s this summer. “Qatar Airways (QTA) recently announced that the first of its 13 A380 airplanes on order will commence operations on the QR003 and QR004 (LHR) route from June 17. Following this, (QTA) has now confirmed that its second A380 will be used to fly to Paris (CDG) airport from Doha from July 3, on QR39 and return on QR40,” (QTA) said.

June 2014: British Airways (BAB) and Qatar Airways (QTA) are believed to be in the early stages of studying ways to increase levels of cooperation beyond their current code share links as part of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker was asked by Richard Quest of (CNN) if he was interested in some form of joint venture (JV) with British Airways (BAB). “Why not?” Al Baker replied.

This was followed by a report in the Abu Dhabi newspaper, "The National," which quoted (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) & (ONW) Alliance Chairman, Willie Walsh as saying that various forms of potential cooperation were being studied. “We look at various different structures of joint ventures (JV)s. You can have a revenue share, you can have a profit share, you can have things that fall between the middle. This is all the sort of issues that are subject to discussions between us. It won’t necessarily have to mean a profit share, but we will have discussions about these issues in the right time.”

Asked to confirm (BAB)’s interest, an (IAG) spokeswoman said: “(QTA) is already a partner of (IAG) through the (ONW) Alliance, which it joined in October 2013. We will look at other opportunities to develop our commercial relationship.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched 4x-weekly Boeing 777-200 flights between Doha International Airport (DOH) and Miami International Airport (MIA). The flight becomes the only direct air connection between Miami and the Middle East. (MIA) is (QTA)’s sixth USA destination and expands its worldwide network to 142 destinations. The 777-200 operating the route is configured with 42C business-class seats and 217Y economy seats.

(QTA) celebrated the inauguration of (DOH) - (MIA) service with a gala dinner in Miami featuring a performance by the singer, Gloria Estefan.

In the USA, (QTA) serves Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, New York (JFK), Washington Dulles and Philadelphia, in addition to Miami. It will make Dallas/Fort Worth its seventh USA destination on July 1.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo began 2x-weekly, Doha - Mexico City Boeing 777F service.

Qatar Airways (QTA) began the 8,274 km sector to Tokyo Haneda (HND) from its Doha (DOH) hub on June 18th (its third Japanese destination, adding to Tokyo Narita (operated since 2010) and Osaka Kansai (since 2005), and its 143rd globally). Flown daily by (QTA)’s 254-seat 787-8s, the route is currently flown against no competition.

July 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) started its tenth destination of 2014, commencing operations between Doha (DOH) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) on July 1st. The daily 777-200LR flight between two Oneworld (ONW) Alliance hubs will be the Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) airline’s seventh destination in the USA (adding to Washington Dulles, Houston Intercontinental, New York (JFK), Chicago O’Hare, and Philadelphia), and follows in quick succession the start of operations to Miami last month. The 12,762 km sector will face no direct competition, however, fellow (MEB3) carrier, Emirates (EAD) already flies from Dallas/Fort Worth to its Dubai hub.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has abandoned plans to have its first Airbus A380 present at this month’s Farnborough Airshow. The news follows an announcement in June that A380 deliveries had been delayed after one of (QTA)’s inspection teams found deficiencies in the cabin.

(QTA), launch customer for the Airbus A350 XWB, will use the airplane to headline its presence at the Farnborough Airshow next week. (QTA) is believed to be planning one of the largest-ever airline presences at an airshow when it appears at the biennial UK event. It was due to be even larger, but delivery delays of the first of 13 A380s led to its appearance being scrapped earlier this week.

As well as the A350-900, which will appear in a hybrid Airbus/Qatar Airways color scheme - - SEE PHOTO - - "QTA-A350-XWB-2014-07," (QTA) will also be showing a sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 and a Boeing 787-8. The A350 will participate in the flying display, while the other two airplanes will be in the static display.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has 80 A350s on order, split between the baseline A350-900 and the larger A350 XWB-1000 version. The type has completed much of its flight test program and is due to join (QTA)’s fleet in December.

The A350’s lightweight construction and advanced aerodynamics are aimed at producing fuel efficiency up to +25% better than typical current airplanes. More than >70% of its airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53%), titanium and advanced aluminum alloys. The airplane’s new carbon fiber reinforced plastic fuselage aims to produce lower fuel burn and easier maintenance.

Both the 787 and A320 will be shown in two-cabin configurations. Qatar Airways (QTA) is in the middle of an investment program upgrading its A320s to include a 180-degree lie flat-bed, new 15.4 inch smart monitors and touch-screen remote control handsets, as well as power, (USB) ports and connectivity for smart devices. The improved airplane will operate on the Vienna, Tunis, Milan, Rome, Geneva, and Maldives routes.

Qatar Airways (QTA) doubled its deal for Boeing 777-9Xs, firming a previous commitment for 50 airplanes and adding new purchase rights for an additional 50 of the wide bodies.

The new deal, signed at the Farnborough Airshow, also includes a letter of intent for four firm and four option 777F freighters. At list prices, the total deal is worth $40.1 billion — $37.7 billion for the 777Xs and $2.4 billion for the 777Fs.

(QTA) became a launch customer for the 777X at the Dubai Airshow in November, when it announced a commitment for 50 airplanes.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for the revised deal, (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said he was doubling the number of 777Xs because of his confidence in Boeing and the 777 and because some of the option airplanes will go to airline customers of the leasing company that (QTA) is setting up. He added that all 50 of the firmed 777Xs will be for Qatar Airways (QTA). Deliveries will start in 2020.

The Boeing 777X is sole-source powered by the (GE) Aviation (GEC) (GE9X) engine and includes an all-new composite wing with folding, raked wingtip and optimized span for an airplane that Boeing (TBC) says will be +12% more fuel efficient than other airplanes in its class.

Al Baker signified that negotiations for the deal went to the wire during this airshow, with fierce haggling over the engine price in particular. But he also pointed out that once he commits, he remains true to his word. “We are very serious; every single purchase right we have done, we have exercised,” he said.

The Doha-based, Oneworld (ONW) global alliance carrier caused some controversy this week by making a last-minute decision not to bring an Airbus A380 to Farnborough, because (QTA) is not satisfied with the cabin quality of the first three of 10 A380s it has on order.
“We are a very demanding customer,” Al Baker said. “We intend to take all 10 of the A380s but only if they meet all or our standards, specifications and requirements. It’s as simple as that.”

(QTA) did bring an Airbus A350-900 and an Airbus A320 to the show, however. (QTA) is the launch customer for the A350, with first delivery scheduled for late 2014. Al Baker said the expanded 777X deal would not affect his commitment to the A350 orders. “We have already firmed those orders and when we sign for something we don’t walk away, unless the manufacturer screws up the airplane.”

August 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) increases capacity on its daily Doha - Perth route with an airplane upgrade from a Boeing 777-200 to a 777-300 on October 1. (QTA) increases flights from Doha to: Tehran by four to 18x-weekly on September 1; Islamabad increases from 7x- to 9x-weekly on September 3 and four were added to Muscat for a total of 35x-weekly, beginning September 16.

(QTA) also will begin 2x-weekly, Doha - Asmara, the Eritrean capital, using an Airbus A320, configured with 12C business class and 132Y economy class seats, on December 4.

(QTA) Qatar Airways will increase its Doha - Madinah Airbus A320 services to 14x-weekly on October 26. It also increases its Doha - Dubai services to 98x-weekly from 91x. This is achieved with an increase to Dubai World Central from 21x-weekly to 28x-weekly with the remaining flights to Dubai International. This new schedule takes effect on October 26.

(QTA) unveiled the new Al Mourjan Business Lounge for its premium passengers at Hamad International Airport.

777-3DZER (43216, A7-BEC) and 787-8 (38333, A7-BCO), (Charleston #34), deliveries.

September 2014: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase Doha - Islamabad service from 7x- to 9x-weekly, September 3 and will add four flights to Muscat for a total of 35x-weekly, beginning September 16. (QTA) increases its 4x-weekly Doha - Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen service to daily on October 26. (QTA) also will begin 2x-weekly, Doha - Asmara Airbus A320 service on December 4.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is to start direct connections to Phuket this winter, building on its existing one-stop service to the Thai destination via Kuala Lumpur. (QTA), which began the daily one-stop Phuket connection in 2010, will serve Phuket thrice-weekly from October 26th. It will add a fourth direct weekly connection on the route in mid-December.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo begins 4x-weekly, Airbus A330F service to Brussels on October 1. Two of the services will fly via Entebbe and two via Nairobi. It will also launch 3x-weekly, Boeing 777 service to Shanghai on October 2.

News Item A-3: Airbus (EDS) has rolled out the first fully painted A350-900 for Qatar Airways (QTA), the launch customer for the twinjet. The airplane, seen at Toulouse without its Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent XWB) engines, is due be delivered and enter service by the end of this year. (QTA) has ordered 80 of the type.

The A350 (005) development airplane recently concluded a route proving tour, touching down in 14 cities, demonstrating its readiness for airline operations.

Meanwhile, (QTA) has introduced the Boeing 787-8 on the Doha - Vienna route, replacing a smaller A320 and almost doubling weekly capacity on the route. (QTA) said it is the first airline to operate the 787 to the Austrian capital.

Qatar Airways (QTA) begins 5x-weekly, Boeing 787 Doha - Cape Town service on November 3.

(QTA) operates its 787s in a two-class, 254-seat layout, with 22C business- and 232Y economy-class seats.

(QTA) has taken delivery of the first of 10 A380s (plus three options) it has on order. (QTA) will become the 12th operator of the type. “A total of four A380-800s will be in operation before the end of the year,” (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said at the delivery press conference at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport. This is quite a big project [to add four A380s in a short period of time], but everyone knows we can do it.”

Al Baker said, “We have no residences, no suites, no butlers on board [like competitor Etihad Airways (EHD)] but we have class.” He added this airplane will be a global connector.

Even though the A380 delivery was delayed by several months, Al Baker said, “I think the delay was caused by (QTA), because we demanded additional quality; the delay is not from Airbus (EDS),” he said.
“We have to be tough on ourselves. And we are also tough on our partners to have a magnificent outcome. It is a testament to the delivery of a customer-tailored airplane,” he added.

Al Baker said that if the airplane exceeds his expectations, he would turn the three options into firm orders. He also said (QTA)’s network could operate up to 20 to 25 A380s.

The (QTA) A380 features a 517-seat layout, comprising 461Y in economy (56Y located in the upper deck), 48C in business and 8F in first class. All seats are equipped with the latest in-flight entertainment systems. A special lounge area for premium passengers is also on the upper deck.

Al Baker said Doha’s new Hamad International Airport is designed for A380 operations. “There are five contact gates for this airplane and more will come,” he said.

(QTA) will launch A380 scheduled operations October 10 with Doha - London Heathrow services. Flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle should follow in the same month.

(QTA), which operates 137 airplanes, is also the launch customer for the A320neo.

October 2014: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced thrice-weekly flights on October 26th from Doha (DOH) to Djibouti (JIB), marking (QTA)’s 145th global destination. The 1,757 km sector will be operated by (QTA)’s 144-seat A320s and will face no direct competition. In September last year, (QTA) launched thrice-weekly operations to neighboring Ethiopia, and this will soon be joined in December this year by a route to the Eritrean capital of Asmara.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) will operate its first Airbus A350 on its Doha - Frankfurt route from January as the A350's first scheduled service. (QTA) as the A350 launch customer, has 80 A350s on order, split between the baseline A350-900 and the larger A350-1000 version. It expects to take delivery of the first airplane (6, A7-ALA) December 10th and eight by the end of 2015.

(QTA) said that it chose Frankfurt as its first destination, because of the A350’s high capacity. The first scheduled round-trip flights will be operated on Flight QR067/68 from Doha to Frankfurt, followed by a second daily frequency on Flight QR069/70.

The A350 will offer a two-class layout, featuring 36C seats in business class and 247Y seats in economy class.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA)’s first fully connected Airbus A380 has entered revenue service on flights between Doha and London. (QTA)’s nine other A380s will also be serviced with both Mobile OnAir and the next generation Internet OnAir.

(QTA) operates 137 airplanes to 75 countries, 144 destinations on 188 routes and 434 daily flights.

See video "QTA-A380 FIRST CLASS DOHA TO LHR" - -

November 2014: Qatar Airways (QTA) will increase its 5x-weekly, Doha - Edinburgh Boeing 787 service to daily from May 1.

December 2014: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) began 4x-daily, Doha - Bangkok Airbus A380 service. It will also begin 2x-daily, Doha - Istanbul (SAW) A320 service on March 29.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has continued its expansion into Africa with the launch of services to its 12th new destination in 2014, the Eritrean capital, Asmara (ASM). The twice-weekly (Thursdays and Saturdays) route will become the 18th African non-stop destination from Doha (DOH). Started on December 4th, the 1,720 km sector will face no direct competition, and the airline is the first of the Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) to offer services to Asmara.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) takes delivery of the first of its 80 Airbus A350 XWB airplanes on order on December 22. The A350 launch customer will operate the A350 XWB on its first commercial service on its Doha - Frankfurt route from January 2015. Al Baker said (QTA)’s next A350 routes could see services to the USA East Coast, followed by more destinations in Europe, such as Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Africa.

(QTA) Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, said: “The delivery of our first A350 XWB airplane, as global launch customer, was a highly anticipated event in the relatively young history of Qatar Airways and the second significant fleet milestone for our airline, having recently taken delivery of our A380 airplane. The introduction of the A350 XWB into service will signal a new frontier in aviation history, as this will be a brand new airplane type projected for the industry for the next decade.”

“Our aim is to have an average fleet age of five years—that’s why we have so many airplanes on order,” Al Baker said. (QTA) has introduced three new airplane types within 24 months, including the Boeing 787-8, the A380-800 and the A350-900.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has set a new date of January 7 for ceremonies at its home hub in Doha.

The first Airbus A350-900 scheduled flight will be from Doha Hamad International Airport to Frankfurt starting from January 2015. A second flight to Frankfurt will follow. (QTA) could be looking to Singapore for one of its destinations for the new airplane.

Qatar has 80 A350s on order, split between the baseline A350-900 and the larger A350-1000 version The A350 will offer a two-class layout, featuring 36 seats in business class and 247 seats in economy class.
The fuel-efficient A350s are powered by two new-generation Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent XWB) engines, each providing 84,000 lb of thrust.

The next A350 deliveries are planned to Vietnam Airlines (VIE) in 2015, followed by Finnair (FIN).

(QTA) currently operates a fleet of 145 airplanes.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) moved up the launch date of its newly received 517-seat Airbus A380 on its Bangkok service to December 5.

(QTA) has seen rapid growth in its 17 years of operation. Today, it flies a modern fleet of 142 airplanes to 145 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America, and South America.

News Item A-4: A330-243F (1584, A7-AFG), ex-(F-WWKM), A350-941 (006, A7-ALA), ex-(F-WZFA), 2 A380-861 (145, A7-APC; 160, A7-APD), EX-(F-WWAJ & F-WWSG), deliveries.

January 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has acquired a 9.99% stake in British Airways (BAB)/Iberia (IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG).

(QTA) said the move was “part of efforts to enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties initiated through code share agreements with the (IAG) as well as its membership of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “The (IAG) represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our Westward strategy. Having joined the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance, it makes sense for us to work more closely together in the near term, and we look forward to forging a long-term relationship.”

The (IAG) concurred it already had a close relationship with (QTA) through the (ONW) Alliance and welcomed (QTA)’s commitment to strengthening existing commercial ties.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the company will “talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further (IAG)’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

As a non-European Union (EU) shareholder, (QTA) is subject to an overall cap on ownership in the (IAG) as a result of the requirement for (EU) airlines to be majority owned by (EU) shareholders. However, (QTA) said it “may consider increasing its stake further over time, although this is not currently intended to exceed >9.99%.”

News Item A-2: Qatar Airlines (QTA) & the (IAG): "Shifting sands in the global reach of the Gulf carriers" January 30, 2015 by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog:

The announcement that Qatar Airways (QTA) has acquired a 9.99% stake in (BAB)/(IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG) is an interesting development in the ongoing change in the international airline landscape prompted by the growth of the Gulf carriers.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker describes the taking of a stake in the (IAG), worth about $1.7 billion, as an “excellent opportunity to further develop our Westward strategy.” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said he was “delighted” about the investment, and opportunities to work more closely with (QTA).

There’s an interesting history to the (IAG) and (QTA) connection. Al Baker and Walsh are long-time, firm friends who each hold the other in high respect. In October 2013, (QTA) joined the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance, becoming the first of the major Gulf carriers to join a global alliance. British Airways (BAB), a founding (ONW) member, was (QTA)’s sponsor and Walsh spoke very enthusiastically about the importance of having (QTA) join. My understanding is that his enthusiasm was not matched by every (ONW) member (CEO).

Dubai-based Emirates (EAD), meanwhile, remains alliance-independent, but in 2013 it entered a five-year alliance with Qantas (QAN), another Oneworld (ONW) Alliance founding member. And Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (EHD) owns a 29% stake in airberlin (BER), another (ONW) airline. (EHD) has its own version of an alliance, taking stakes in relatively small carriers and creating a constellation of airline equity partners that includes airberlin (BER), Air Serbia (JAT), India’s Jet Airways (JPL), Virgin Australia (VOZ), Air Seychelles (ASY) and Aer Lingus (ARL). Interestingly, the (IAG) wants to buy Aer Lingus (ARL), a move, which if it happens, would further tangle the (IAG)-Oneworld (ONW)-Gulf carrier web.

(EHD), of course, is also now a 49% owner of Alitalia (ALI) (to keep you on track with the alliance matings here, (ALI) is a SkyTeam (STM) Alliance member). But (QTA)’s stake in the (IAG) is the first time that one of the “Big Three” Gulf carriers has invested in one of the “Big Three” European airline groups of the (IAG), the Lufthansa Group and Air France (AFA) - (KLM).

It will be fascinating to see if the (QTA) - (IAG) deal marks the beginning of more such equity partnerships (within the caps of the (EU) airline ownership rules) between Gulf carriers and their European counterparts. The fact is that it’s becoming increasingly challenging for the “traditional” global hubs of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Heathrow, and Paris to compete with the “modern” world hubs of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar.

In the USA, meanwhile, there is growing awareness that what happened in Europe regards Gulf competition could happen in America. A campaign is being run by North America’s “Big Three” (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL)) to try and get lawmakers to review "Open Skies" policies and the international air transport competitive landscape to take account of the rise of the Gulf carriers.

Flying under the radar so far in the shifting sands of air transport power houses is Turkish Airlines (THY), which is a Star (SAL) Alliance carrier and which has developed an extensive network, very large and modern fleet and highly successful global hub in Istanbul. It will be interesting to see whether that continues to be the case if, as Al Baker described it, a “Westward strategy” by Gulf carriers begins, in some eyes at least, to look more like a "Westward" invasion.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) will add +30% more capacity to its three Italian routes and is adding four extra weekly flights to Madrid.

Just days after Etihad Airways (EHD) and Alitalia (ALI) detailed their strategy, (QTA) announced plans to operate all-wide body services to its three Italian destinations, Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino, and Venice.

“The increase in capacity to Italy will be provided by introducing the Airbus A330 on the Milan and Venice routes, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the Rome route,” (QTA)r said.

Milan and Rome, which are both served 2x-daily, will be boosted to the larger airplanes from March 29, followed by the daily, Venice service from June 16.

(QTA) is also increasing its newly added Doha - Madrid route from 10x-weekly to double-daily from July 16. This service started November 16 and is operated by Boeing 777s.

As previously announced, (QTA) will add double-daily, Barcelona - Doha services on February 16.

News Item A-4: Air Transport World (ATW) Editor Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog discussed "Qatar Airways (QTA) Offered Tips on Eyeliner & Lipstick":

Qatar Airways Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker is a notoriously hard man to please. As head of the launch customer airline for the Airbus A350 XWB, he has challenged Airbus (EDS) the manufacturer and its engine supplier, Rolls-Royce (RRC).

As he formally received the first airplane in Doha (after an awkward and last-minute handover delay in December - with no reason given) Akbar was in good spirits, praising Airbus (EDS) and Rolls-Royce (RRC) for walking “hand-in-hand” with their customer throughout the development program. The result, he noted, was an airplane that is “a magnificent masterpiece” that represents “the pinnacle” of (QTA)’s achievements so far.

Even so, the straight-talking (CEO) couldn’t resist an opening jab during a press conference in Doha, with the brand-new airplane waiting outside for dozens of international media to get a first glimpse of its cabins.

Taking his seat on the stage, and with Airbus Executive VP Head of Programs, Didier Evrard and (RRC) President, Large Civil Engines, Eric Schulz seated either side, Al Baker quipped: “Any of you who did not apply your eyeliner or lipstick correctly, you can learn from Airbus (EDS) how to do touch ups.”

Whatever “touch ups” Al Baker was referring to was not explained. But he seems pleased with the cosmetic work (noting in particular that the A350’s sweeping, curved wing is “very beautiful”). Indeed, it is.

News Item A-5: Qatar Airways (QTA) became the first airline to start Airbus A350 XWB scheduled flights with daily Doha - Frankfurt service.
From March, a second A350 will serve the same route twice-daily. The next A350 destination is expected to be Singapore, followed by several more destinations in Southeast Asia. “I like to show off my airplanes to airlines that object to my entry into this market,” (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

(QTA) has 80 A350s on order, comprising 38 A350-900s and 42 A350-1000s. It will take delivery of eight A350-900s this year.
The first A350 was delivered to (QTA) December 22 after a short delay.

The next airlines to take delivery of the A350 XWB will be Vietnam Airlines (VIE), which has 10 of the type on order, and Finnair (FIN), which has ordered 19 airplanes to be deployed on its long-haul routes to Asia and America.

News Item A-6: "USA carriers should tread carefully in their anti-Gulf carrier campaign" January 21, 2015 by Karen Walker in Air Transport World (ATW) Editor's Blog:

Following a bit of saber-rattling last year, leaders of the “big three” USA consolidated carriers, American (AAL), Delta (DAL), and United (UAL), are believed to be ramping up their campaign in Washington DC against the major Gulf carriers, which are looking to expand their North American footprints.

The USA carriers should tread carefully. There are risks to a strategy that could lead to regulatory intervention on what is essentially a "marketplace" issue.

First, airlines do themselves no favors if they play the game of (rightly) rejecting regulation where it is not necessary, but (wrongly) seeking it when it suits them. Lawmakers should stay out of airline business practices such as ancillary fees, use of phones (when operationally safe), and other product-related decisions where rules are not applied to other travel businesses and have nothing to do with safety, security and anti-competitive behavior. Requesting help to keep out competition, sends mixed signals to Washington and opens a back door to the era of heavy-handed economic regulation. Remember when the (CAB) defined what could count as a “sandwich?"

These same USA carriers are turning to the Asia market and transpacific routes to get a bigger slice of that fast-growing market; one made possible through "Open skies." If USA carriers seek regulatory help to fend off Gulf competition in North America, then they have no recourse should Asian flagships do the same to them.

That isn’t to say a competitive threat doesn’t exist. In a report headed by Professor Martin Dresner, a member of the University of Maryland faculty and one of the country's leading aviation economists, empirical results suggest that greater competition by Gulf carriers in USA international markets is associated with significant growth in USA - Middle East traffic volumes and small but statistically significant traffic losses and fare reductions for USA carriers in route markets connecting the USA with Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

But the answer isn’t to whine about competition to Congress; rather, USA carriers must work to ensure their customer products remain the popular choice. As Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark said in Chicago last year, “Don’t worry about us. Get on with the job. Focus on what you’re doing.”

Second, the “government subsidy” accusations that the USA carriers use as the foundation for their anti-Gulf carrier campaign, fall into the “people in glass houses” category. Each of the carriers that are leading this campaign have benefited from Chapter 11, allowing them to clean their balance sheets and void obligations to creditors and employees. They also enjoy legacy rights on some of the world’s most lucrative hub airports and routes, particularly in the transatlantic market. Individual USA states provide millions of dollars of incentives that help support, attract and keep their local carriers.

Whatever ‘subsidy’ accusations are leveled at the Gulf carriers, each effectively started from scratch, and built their global networks and customer bases on their service reputations, not on inherited rights. In other words, the customer chose the product. That’s the market at work, and that’s where USA carriers should invest their time and resources, not in lunches on Capitol Hill.

News Item A-7: Qatar Airways (QTA) has finalized an order for four Boeing 777F freighters, valued at $1.24 billion at current list prices. (QTA) also has purchase rights for four additional airplanes, which would bring the combined value to $2.46 billion.

(QTA) first announced an intent to order the four 777Fs at the Farnborough Airshow in July. The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member currently operates a fleet of 37 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs, in addition to seven 777F freighters.

February 2015: News Item A-1: One of the new carriers planning to enter the Saudi Arabian domestic market, Saudi Gulf Airlines, will not be flying until the fourth quarter this year—around a year later than planned.

The comment came from Sulaiman Al Hamdan, the new President of Saudi regulator the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), who was quoted in the Saudi press while on a tour reviewing progress on Jeddah’s new King Abdul Aziz International Airport.

Saudi Gulf was initially planned to start operating in late 2014 or early 2015. Like Qatar Airways (QTA) subsidiary, Al Maha Airways, it has faced delays in getting airborne.

At the handover of its first Airbus A350-900 last December, Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said his carrier was only awaiting an (AOC) from (GACA), but this was proving to be a complex process. Last month, (QTA) said it could be between six to 18 months before Al Maha could start operations.

However, Al Hamdan told journalists the delays were not (GACA)’s responsibility. “There are regulations that they have to follow to get the license. We are transparent and we provide the same facilities to all airlines,” he said.

Both carriers will launch in the Saudi domestic market with Airbus A320-200s. Saudi Gulf, owned by a new entrant to the airline market, Abdel Hadi Abdullah Al-Qahtani & Sons Group, is also due to begin deliveries of 16 Bombardier CS300s near the end of this year.

News Item A-2: It's one of the world's fastest growing airlines with a modern fleet, but Qatar airways (QTA) has been rocked by reports revealing its shockingly archaic set of rules for female flight attendants.

Gulf carriers Etihad (EHD) and Emirates (EAD) were also blasted by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) for its "flagrant abuses of aviation workers," but they named (QTA) as the worst.

The (ITF) exposed unbelievable rules in the contracts for female flight attendants (CA) at (QTA) including:

• Female flight attendants can only be hired if they are single

• They must remain single for five years after starting work

• If they want to get married they have to ask the airline's permission

• Pregnancy is a breach of contract and can lead to firing

Nearly eighteen months since their initial report, the (ITF) said that (QTA) has made no progress in its treatment of women, and has urged companies, including the Barcelona Football Club who have a lucrative sponsorship deal with (QTA), to reconsider their relationship with the airline.

However, in a statement to the "Washington Post," (QTA) said the contract claims are not true. "(QTA) flight attendants (CA) do not have to be, or remain single," Rossen Dimitrov, (QTA) Senior VP Customer Experience, said. "Many of our cabin crew (CA) are in fact married."

(QTA) said its cabin crew (CA) do have to notify the airline of pregnancies, as mandated by Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority, "for health and safety reasons." If employees cannot fly because of pregnancy, they are "assisted with finding suitable ground positions."

Its (CEO), Akbar al-Baker, has previously defended its policies telling "Reuters" that the terms of employment are clearly stated.
"If you come to seek employment with (QTA), we give you a document that these are the rules and regulations, if you as a mature individual accept those conditions, then you shouldn't complain."

The revelation of the contract stipulations has outraged many on social media who have labelled the rules "sexist," "insane" and "outdated."

(QTA) is one of the three main Gulf carriers. It has had phenomenal growth over the past >20 years, moving from 90th biggest international carrier to the 10th. It serves over 140 destinations (including Melbourne and Perth), has 142 airplanes in the sky and another 340 on order.

To help service this rapidly expanding fleet, (QTA) has embarked on enormous recruitment drives from far flung places such as Papua New Guinea, Slovakia, South Africa, India, and the Philippines.

Voted "Airline of the Year 2011" and in 2012, in the prestigious Skytrax industry audit, (QTA) has so far won the confidence of the public, however, the (ITF) believes the truth needs to be revealed.

"The treatment of workers at (QTA) goes further than cultural differences. They are the worst for women's rights among airlines," Gabriel Mocho, Civil Aviation secretary at the international grouping of transport unions, told "Reuters."

"You can't see that deep level of sexism anywhere now, except at these airlines in the Gulf," Mocho said.

March 2015: News Item A-1: Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partner, Qatar Airways (QTA) is to open services to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in the second half of the year. (QTA) said it will begin operating the route from Doha, via Kilimanjaro, five times per week. (QTA) will start flying the onward connection from July 1st.

(QTA) currently serves Kilimanjaro via its link to Dar es Salaam. But the Kilimanjaro operation will be revised as a non-stop service.

Zanzibar will be the third destination in Tanzania for (QTA). (QTA) will use 144-seat Airbus A320s for the route.

News Item A-2: American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL) joined with a number of unions March 4th to accuse the three major Gulf carriers of receiving government subsidies totaling more than >$40 billion.

Representatives of the USA airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association International, the Allied Pilots Association, and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants held a joint press conference in Washington DC as part of the USA carriers’ campaign against Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA).

The USA carriers claim the subsidies that the Gulf carriers receive from their government owners in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar contravene fair competitive practices requirements of the "Open Skies" agreements that the USA has signed with Qatar and the (UAE).

The (CEO)s of (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) held behind-closed-doors meetings with White House and government officials earlier this year and showed them financial documents they say support their claims of large government subsidies.

Today, they made public those documents. They did not explain why the documents were not revealed earlier.

Among their allegations, the carriers say that Qatar Airways (QTA) benefits from billions of dollars in interest-free, unsecured loans from its state owner that it does not have to pay back. Etihad (EHD), they say, has received $6.3 billion in direct equity infusions plus $4.6 billion in interest-free loans. Emirates (EAD) removed $2.4 billion in 2014 oil hedging losses from its books, the USA carriers say, and has benefited from $2.3 billion in subsidies for Dubai airport expansions.

The USA carriers said the financial details came from statements that the carriers have to file with other countries where they operate, including New Zealand and Singapore.

The USA carriers also accuse their Gulf rivals of “skyrocketing capacity” at more than three times the growth rate of global (GDP) (+11% versus +3%) and of starting to penetrate the transatlantic market via fifth freedom routes such as New York - Milan - Dubai.

They have requested USA government officials not to allow any of the Gulf carriers to add new flights to the USA, while they discuss the situation and their allegations are considered. To date, they say, their case has been taken “very seriously” and being looked at “diligently” by the government officials with whom they have met.

In February, a group of Washington lobbyists and a FedEx Express (FED) executive said the campaign by the USA carriers was an effort to roll back "Open Skies" and keep out international competition.

The heads of Emirates Airline (EAD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have strongly defended their airlines against allegations of large government subsidies leveled at them by the three big US carriers (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Airlines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL)).

News Item A-3: "In "Open Skies" War Game, Gulf Carriers 3: USA Carriers 0," by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 5, 2015.

Today, after two years of “investigation” and a largely behind-closed-doors campaign (apart from the Delta (DAL) (CEO)’s unfortunate (CNN) TV interview), the three major USA carriers finally made public the document that allegedly proves their Gulf carrier rivals are operating only because of more than >$40 billion subsidies from their state owners.

Representatives of American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) held a press conference jointly with representatives of major airline unions to defend their campaign, provide an outline of the document, and insist that they are taking action not because they don’t believe in "Open Skies" (they love the other 112 USA agreements, they just don’t like those with the (UAE) and Qatar) or are against competition (“bring it on,” but it must be fair).

You can read the news summary of the press conference here, and responses from Emirates (EAD) President, Sir Tim Clark and Qatar (QTA) Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker here.

But what was my quick take from this press conference? In my view, not a lot. It only raised more questions about the USA carrier (CEO)s’ true motivations behind this strange campaign.

First, any time that the three biggest international USA carriers join forces (backed solidly by their union groups) you have to wonder at the real story. Job protectionism is fine, but (like competition itself) must be done on a sound basis. I don’t see a case made.

Second, if the so-called “breakthrough” (their words) by the USA carrier investigation into Gulf carrier financials was the simple discovery that they could access the numbers via countries like New Zealand and Singapore, why did it take two years to compile a report? And, if the evidence is so damaging, why was this not made public much earlier, rather than shuffling secret documents around White House and government rooms? Unfair competition is a serious allegation: if you have the proof, show it and take it to Justice. The USA carrier reps were posed that question today by a reporter. Their reply: “We just didn’t.”

The third question relates to Chapter 11, a uniquely USA system that allows airlines in dire financial straits (for whatever reason) to hold off their creditors, wipe out debts and restructure. Outside the USA, Chapter 11 is seen as a subsidy. The USA carriers insisted today it was not a subsidy in the view of the USA. That’s irrelevant in a global market. It’s what counts as a subsidy in global eyes that matters.

The USA carriers also said today that Chapter 11 means you have to shrink your airline. So how come (AAL), fresh out of bankruptcy protection, is now the world’s largest carrier and investing heavily in new airplanes and products?

I’ll leave the last word for now to a response to the press conference from USA - (UAE) Business Council President, Danny Sebright. “Before claiming government support for international competitors, the Big 3 [USA carriers] may first want to check their own balance sheets. Since 2006, the Big 3 transferred billions of dollars of pension liabilities directly to Uncle Sam, while leaving creditors holding the bag for billions more, through multiple bankruptcies. They received billions in cash payments and guaranteed loans in a direct government bailout, while enjoying the advantages of antitrust immunity to fix transatlantic fares with their European partners,” Sebright said.

The USA airlines should “stop complaining and start competing,” he added.

Unless and until American (AAL), Delta (DAL), and United (UAL) have a more compelling case that is not so clearly about closing the competitive door after they got what they wanted via Chapter 11, I suggest that’s good advice. By my count, they are already several points behind in this game, and they now risk scoring home goals.

News Item A-4: "European Union (EU) Seeks Mandate for Talks with Gulf States Over Subsidies" by (ATW)'s Aaron Karp, March 18, 2015.

Citing “distortions in the market,” European Union (EU) Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc said she will seek a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

Bulc said the request for talks with Gulf states was initiated by France and Germany. She pointed to the study recently issued by major USA airlines, alleging more than >$40 billion in state aid to Gulf airlines over the last decade. “Gulf carriers compete with Europe’s airlines on international flights,” Bulc said. “The subsidies they receive, create distortions in the market, denting the competitiveness of (EU) and USA carriers, critics say. According to the [USA airlines’] study, Gulf airlines received interest-free loans, free land and low airport charges, among others.”

French Secretary of State for Transport, Alain Vidalies and German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt said in a joint statement, “European airlines are losing market share against the Gulf companies because of their unfair competitive practices, and in particular because of the significant public subsidies and guarantees they enjoy.” The two ministers said they want the European Commission to develop a “common strategy on controlling foreign airlines’ operations with traffic rights in the (EU).” They said the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Austria support their position.

Bulc said the mandate she is seeking to “curb market-distorting state aid to airlines” could also extend to China, Brazil, and Turkey.

Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark, speaking to reporters in Washington DC, said his company will issue a “line by line response” to the USA carriers’ report. “We will do it in a very methodical, clinical manner,” he said.

Responding to Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Carsten Spohr announcing his support for the USA airlines’ campaign against Gulf carriers, Clark said, “Once we have disproved the allegations against us, then let’s have a talk about who is saying what. We have been dealing with the question of subsidies for many, many years in the European area and other parts of the world, and we have successfully dealt with that.”

News Item A-5: "FedEx: Don’t ‘Capitulate’ to USA Passenger Airlines on "Open Skies" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 19th, 2015.

FedEx Corporation (FED) is pushing back hard against major USA passenger airlines that, in the cargo giant’s view, are trying to get the USA government to alter "Open Skies" agreements with Middle East states that are integral to FedEx (FED)’s business.

American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar of providing more than >$40 billion in state “subsidies” to Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) over the past decade, and appear to want the USA government to limit those airlines’ access to the USA by revisiting "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar signed in 1999 and 2001, respectively. (EU) transport minister Violeta Bulc cited the USA airlines’ allegations when announcing she is seeking a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

FedEx (FED), however, said "Open Skies" deals with Middle East states are crucial to its air cargo business and is urging the USA government not to “capitulate to the interests of a few carriers who stand ready to put their narrow, protectionist interests” ahead of the USA’s broader economic interests. (FED) is especially concerned about potential restrictions to its air cargo hub in Dubai.

Speaking to analysts, (FED) President & (CEO), David Bronczek said, “Our view is very simple. We believe in "Open Skies" and free trade, and we’ve been doing this for decades now. We base our whole business model on "Open Skies." We have a lot of business in the Middle East, a lot of business in Asia, and around the world. And of course for us, competing in an "Open Skies" environment is critical for us.”

In a letter recently sent to USA Secretary of State, John Kerry, Bronczek said, “Retrenchment in any way from "Open Skies" by the USA would jeopardize the economic growth benefits that air cargo provides. Retrenchment would result in higher fares and fewer options for flying passengers. Retrenchment benefits only a very few.”

Specifically, Bronczek said the "Open Skies" agreements the USA has with Middle East nations “are very valuable” to FedEx (FED), noting the Memphis-based express delivery operator’s Dubai hub was enabled by the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies" accord signed in 1999. “FedEx (FED) flights from the USA crisscross with our flights from India and Asia [at the Dubai hub] in order to move USA products into local markets,” he wrote. “This hub also acts as our gateway to Africa.”

Bronczek said (AAL), (UAL) and (DAL) “believe they have little to risk by limiting foreign carrier access to USA markets. What they want is for the USA government to protect them from competition from able, attractive new entrants.” He noted that “FedEx (FED) alone operates almost two-thirds more flights to the Middle East than all the USA passenger carriers combined. Modifications to [the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies"] agreement might spell the end of these opportunities.”

FedEx (FED) Founder, Chairman & (CEO), Frederick Smith told analysts this week that (FED) remains “very much in support of continuation of "Open Skies” and said the USA passenger carriers’ effort is part of a “very concerning trend” globally of “protectionism over the last several years.”

News Item A-6: Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker would like to invest in Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo (IGO).

777-FDZ (42298, A7-BFH) and A350-941 (007, A6-ALB), ex-(F-WZFB), deliveries.

April 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) increases passenger service to Pakistan: 4x-weekly Sialkot, July 16; 3x-weekly Faisalabad July 17; and 3x-weekly Multan, August 1.

News Item A-2: (UTC) Aerospace Systems was selected by Qatar Airways (QTA) to supply wheels and Duracarb carbon brakes for 43 Airbus A350-900s.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) is the 2nd largest operator in the Middle East in terms of fleet size.

(QTA) is a state-owned flag carrier of Qatar with headquarters in the Qatar Airways (QTA) Tower in Doha. In 2015, (QTA) will operate a fleet of 178 airplanes. The fleet includes Boeing 787-8s, Airbus A330-200s, Boeing 777-300ERs, and Airbus A380-800 airplanes.

See video - - "QTA-Life as a Cabin Crew Member:

May 2015: News Item A-1: "Emirates (EAD) Dedicated Its "Open Sky" Magazine to address USA Allegations; & Qatar (QTA) is Expanding its USA network" by Air Transport World (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, May 4, 2015.

Emirates Airline (EAD) has published an issue of its magazine entirely devoted to countering the allegations of government subsidies and unfair competition that have been leveled at (EAD) and the other two major Gulf carriers (QTA) and Etihad Airways (EHD), by American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL).

The 16-page May issue of (EAD)'s "Open Sky" magazine begins with an editorial by (EAD) President Tim Clark entitled “Subsidy? Tosh!”

Clark states that “(EAD) does not receive and never has received any form of subsidy from the (UAE) Government. And considering that we have operated to the USA since 2004, we fail to understand how we can possibly be competing unfairly in 2015.”

In a 55-page white paper commissioned by the USA carriers, they allege that (UAE)-based (EAD) and (EHD), plus Qatar-based, Qatar Airways (QTA) have benefited from more than >$40 billion in state subsidies. They say this contravenes conditions of the USA "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar and are asking for government-to-government talks on the situation.

The USA government, meanwhile, has begun a review of the subsidy and competition allegations and is seeking comments from all sides.

The "Open Sky" magazine, according to an (EAD) spokesperson, is (EAD)’s international & government affairs journal, published two or three times a year, and distributed to analysts, journalists and industry players.

In his editorial, Clark said, “The real issue at hand is that the three biggest USA carriers, who together with their joint venture (JV) partners already control about two-thirds of international flights from the USA, want to further limit the international air transport choices available to American consumers, airports, local and regional economies.”

Clark said that (EAD) is working on a point-to-point rebuttal of the USA white paper, but three of the major allegations are tackled directly in the "Open Sky" magazine.

Emirates (EAD) denies it benefited from $2.4 billion in subsidies from the government assumption of fuel-hedging losses or that the government provides (EAD) $1.6 billion in letters of credit.

“All cash losses incurred by (EAD) as a result of its fuel trades in place in 2008/2009 were settled in full from (EAD)’s own cash reserves and not paid for by the Government of Dubai. The letters of credit mentioned in the white paper were in fact provided by (EAD)s to our owners, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, in support of the fuel trades novated, not the other way round,” (EAD) said.

(EAD) also disputed the competitive importance of alleged $2.3 billion in subsidized airport infrastructure since 2004. “Infrastructure investment is long term in its nature,” (EAD) said. “The Government of Dubai has made these investments, like other progressive emerging market economies (e g, China, Singapore) with long term benefits in mind. Comparably lower airport charges or charge exemptions for transfer passengers are neither a subsidy nor discriminatory, as all airlines who use the infrastructure at Dubai International benefit.

“Emirates (EAD) pays the full published rates at (DXB), which are highly competitive, commercially based, and in fact higher than a number of other comparable major airports such as Kuala Lumpur,” (EAD) said.

(EAD) also denied that Gulf carriers take passengers and revenues from USA carriers, and force USA carriers to reduce, terminate or forgo services on international routes. “Despite what some carriers may think, air passengers are not proprietary to airlines. What (EAD) is doing is competing in the marketplace (we don’t ‘take’ or ‘steal’ customers). We offer a great product,” (EAD) said.

The "Open Sky" magazine also detailed routes that (EAD) serves versus the three USA carriers. From its Dubai hub, (EAD) flies to nine USA cities, offering one-stop connections to 15 Middle Eastern destinations; 23 African destinations; and 35 Asian destinations. In contrast, said (EAD), the three USA network airlines only serve a combined four points in Africa and four in the Middle East.

Asia, as an (EAD)’s table shows, has much more route overlap, with Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) each serving 13 Asia-Pacific cities and American five.

More fuel was added to the Gulf vs USA carrier war on May 4th, when Qatar (QTA) announced three new routes to Los Angeles (LAX), Boston and Atlanta. With these, (QTA) will offer daily nonstop services to all 10 of the largest metropolitan areas of the USA by mid-2016.

From January 1 2016, Qatar (QTA) will fly daily flights to (LAX) with Boeing 777 airplanes, in a two-class cabin.

From March 16, 2016, (QTA) will launch daily flights to Boston with the Airbus A350 XWB in a two-class configuration. (QTA) is the launch customer for the A350 and this will be the first USA service for the airplane.

From July 1 2016, (QTA) will begin daily flights to Atlanta with the 777. And from March 1 2016, (QTA) will add a second daily service to New York (JFK) (where it began daily service in 2007) using the A350 for the second flight (the other flight being a 777).

(QTA)’s USA network expansion brought an immediate condemnation from Washington DC lobbying organization "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies," which issued a statement saying it was “yet another example of the Gulf carriers racing against the clock to dump more subsidized capacity on the USA and diverting passengers away from the USA airlines.” The organization added that “the harm from these actions is real and immediate.”

News Item A-2: The USA government is “taking very seriously” the request Delta Air Lines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and their labor groups have made that consultations begin with the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar on alleged subsidies for the airlines from those countries, a USA Department of State official said.

The government is doing its “due diligence” on the subsidy claims the USA carriers have made against Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA), Tom Engle, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs, said, speaking at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium. The effort is an interagency affair, with State, Transportation & Commerce leading the investigation, with help from the USA Trade Representative and the Council of Economic Advisers, Engle said. He declined to describe a timeline for when the government will decide if it will proceed with consultations. Public comment is being solicited on a website, and the government will provide the opportunity for rebuttals before making a decision.

Consultations, or formal government-to-government talks, are provided for under the "Open Skies" treaties should one party have a grievance or dispute. At issue is whether the three Persian Gulf carriers receive subsidies that distort the market, making it difficult for USA carriers to compete for lucrative international traffic, particularly to South Asia.

Representatives from (DAL), (AAL) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) drove this point home forcefully at a panel discussion here, while also reiterating their support for "open skies" as a policy.

But at issue is that the three Gulf carriers are “instruments of government policy,” existing solely and subsidized to carry out Qatar’s and the (UAE)’s aims to flow passengers over their hubs in Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, Ben Hirst, (DAL) Chief Legal Officer said. “We are concerned about USA policy that opens the doors of this huge market to entities that basically are arms of the state,” (AAL) Senior VP Government Affairs, Will Ris said.

John Byerly, the former State Department official who negotiated more than >70 "Open Skies" policies and is now a consultant to Emirates (EAD), rejected the USA airlines’ claim to support "Open Skies." Asking for Gulf carriers’ capacity to be frozen at the January 28 level until consultations play out, is an abrogation of the treaty. "Open Skies" liberalize the market. “They [the Gulf carriers] are beating [the USA airlines] in the market place,” Byerly said. “These USA airlines had a nice, comfortable little nest, with alliances and joint ventures (JV)s.”

The international aviation playing field has never been level; rather, it has always had “bumps and hills,” Byerly said. "Open Skies" allow the market to function as freely as it can in such a regulated industry, he said.

Video clip: The (MSNBC) news program looked at the Gulf carrier subsidies dispute:

News Item A-3: "Qatar Airways (QTA)’s (CEO) Fires Back at Anti-Gulf Carrier campaign" by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, May 13th, 2015.

The USA campaign against the major Gulf carriers is a “transparent attempt to block competition and reduce customer choice,” the (CEO) of Qatar Airways (QTA) said May 13th at a media briefing in Washington DC.

Group (CEO) Akbar al Baker came to DC to give his first full response to the campaign, headed by American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and some USA labor groups, that alleges state-owned Qatar Airways (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) have benefited from government subsidies totaling $42 billion. (QTA), according to a report commissioned by the USA carriers, has benefited from about $17 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees.

The USA carriers are seeking government-to-government consultations on the "Open Skies" agreements between the USA and the (UAE), which owns Dubai-based (EAD) and Abu Dhabi-based (EHD), and between the USA and (QTA). They say their report proves that those "Open Skies" treaties are being abused by the Gulf carriers, which are bringing unfair competition and over-capacity into the market. A USA government review of the complaints is under way, with comments being sought by the Departments of Commerce, State & Transportation.

Al Baker countered the allegations by saying that the USA - Qatar treaty, signed in 2007, was “a very balanced agreement” and that none of the three USA carriers was really serving the Indian sub-continent, African, or Middle East markets that (QTA) serves via its Doha hub.

He added that USA carriers let their European partners serve these markets via congested airports such as Frankfurt and Paris, while Hamad International Airport allows quicker, easier and more comfortable connections to 12 points in India, seven in Pakistan and to other places like Bangladesh that the USA carriers do not serve.
“Our service is lawful and pro-competition,” al Baker said. “(QTA) offers convenient, one-stop service to unserved destinations.”

Al Akbar also accused the three USA carriers of “tightly controlling capacity in their country to keep prices high. Why stop us from putting capacity into places where they are reducing capacity? We offer key competitive benefits,” he said.

Al Baker said "Open Skies" was a “win, win for customers, airports and businesses” and he cited the business that had been brought to USA companies, including $19 billion worth of Boeing airplanes in (QTA)’s fleet and +$50 billion more on order.

He said he did not think government talks were necessary. “We are operating within the permissible parameters of this air service agreement,” he said. And he denied that the airline receives subsidies or government handouts. “(QTA) has received equity and it’s within the right of any state owner to invest equity [in its airline]. From there on, we are independent. We finance our airplanes through the financial community. We are absolutely independent in the way we run our company,” he said.

Asked why he believed the USA carriers were campaigning now, even though the Gulf carriers have been in the USA market for several years, al Baker replied, “First, because they are making more profit, so they have got greedy.” He added that they had also completed their industry consolidation. “They have reduced capacity to allow them to keep prices high and at the same time provide "crap" service,” he said.

(QTA), a five-star carrier, is the only one of the major Gulf carriers to be part of a global alliance. (QTA) joined the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance in 2013, and was sponsored by British Airways (BAB). (QTA) now owns a 10% stake in (BAB) parent, the (IAG), and (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has pulled both (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), another of its airlines, from the Association of European Airlines (AEA) because of what he feels is its “protectionist” stance against the Gulf carriers.

(AAL) is also a member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance, but al Baker denied that there was any friction between him and (AAL) (CEO), Doug Parker. “We are above these allegations and I will respect our commitment to our partner,” he said. “I think my dear friend Doug Parker has been misled by an individual. I will have a chat with him in Miami at the (IATA) (AGM) [in June]. I think it will be an interesting (IATA) (AGM).”

News Item A-4: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced more new routes and has unveiled a “strategic joint business partnership” with Royal Air Maroc (RAM).

The partnership will see the two carriers team up on services between Qatar and Morocco, operating a total of 10 weekly flights between Casablanca and Doha between them. Three of these will be operated by Royal Air Maroc (RAM), with (QTA) flying the remaining seven. Passengers will be able to use flights from both airlines and connect onward from both hubs.

“The joint business with (RAM) is a major win for (QTA)’s passengers flying to Casablanca, and beyond to destinations in Africa,” (QTA) Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said.

“This agreement is a crucial phase in the history of (RAM), since it allows us to create a bridge between Asia and Africa,” (RAM) Chairman & (CEO), Driss Benhima said.

The Royal Air Maroc (RAM) partnership was made public amid a flurry of new Qatar Airways (QTA) route announcements. Within the Middle East, the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier has launched a new shuttle service between Doha and Dubai, operating 14x-daily to Dubai International and 4x-daily to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International. (QTA) said the link is “first of its kind” between the cities. From the beginning of October, (QTA) will also add a daily Airbus A320 link between Doha and Ras Al Khaimah, the northern-most Emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Qatar Airways (QTA) is adding seven new international destinations this year: Amsterdam, Durban, Faisalabad, Multan, Ras Al Khaimah, Sialkot, and Zanzibar. The 5x-weekly Airbus A320 service to Zanzibar will go live on July 1, operating via Kilimanjaro, and 4x-weekly flights to Durban in South Africa will begin December 17.

Three new USA cities, Los Angeles, Boston, and Atlanta, will join (QTA)’s network in 2016. These three routes, announced on May 4, triggered immediate condemnation from Washington DC lobbying organization "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies" as the backlash against Gulf carrier expansion continues.

A day later, Al Baker met with European Union (EU) Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc in Brussels to discuss “aviation cross-border matters,” as well as (QTA)’s strategy and growth plans for “Europe and beyond.” This meeting followed recent upheaval among European airline lobby groups, with airberlin (BER), British Airways (BAB), and Iberia (IBE) canceling their membership of the Association of European Airlines (AEA). All three airlines are partly Gulf-owned.

Qatar Airways (QTA) began daily, Doha - Edinburgh Boeing 787 service, an increase over the 5x-weekly launched a year ago.

(QTA) flies to 33 destinations in Europe, and serves 146 destinations worldwide.

787-8 (38340, A7-BCV), and A350-941 (009, A7-ALC), ex-(F-WZFD) deliveries.

June 2015: News Item A-1: Airbus A350 XWB services from Doha Hamad International Airport to Philadelphia start on January 1, 2016, followed by daily flights to New York (JFK) and Boston on March 1 and March 16, 2016, respectively.

(QTA), the global launch customer for the A350 XWB, said the daily flights to Philadelphia will increase capacity by more than >9% (from 259 seats to 283 seats) compared to the currently used Boeing 777-200LR airplanes.

(QTA) now operates 47 passenger flights a week between the USA and Doha (including daily service from New York (JFK), Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth) and 5x weekly service from Miami.

In addition, (QTA)’s USA network will grow further with the launch of services to Los Angeles (January 1, 2016), Boston (March 16), Atlanta (July 1), and a second daily flight to New York (March 1).

Further, (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker held meetings in Rome to discuss (QTA)’s recent expansion in Italy. Qatar (QTA) will add +30% extra capacity from Doha to Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino, with the introduction of wide body airplanes on double-daily flights to each destination. Capacity on the Doha - Venice Marco Polo route will increase +70% by using an A330 instead of an A320.

A (QTA) spokesman in Doha denied Italian media reports that the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member is considering acquiring a 49% stake in Italian carrier Meridiana (ALS), which is undergoing a restructuring process. The spokesperson said there is currently no interest in such a move.

Al Baker said in March that he would like to invest in Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo (IGO), because it is “the only airline in India that is working [well] and is profitable.”

Al Baker said he also has interest in other carriers.

(QTA) surprised the industry in January when it acquired a 9.99% stake in British Airways (BAB)/Iberia (IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG).

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways announced an order for 10 Boeing 777-8Xs and four 777F freighters, valued at $4.8 billion at list prices, on the opening day of Paris Air Show.

The 10 777X airplanes are powered by (GE9X) engines and the 777Fs are powered by (GE90-115B) engines. (GE) Aviation (GEC) valued the total engine order for the 20 (GE9X) engines and eight (GE90-115B) engines at more than >$1.1 billion list prices.

“Acquiring technologically advanced airplanes, such as the 777X, is integral to our expansion strategy,” (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said. “With the addition of these 777-8Xs to the 50 777-9Xs already on order, we are confident of continuing the tremendous legacy of the 777.”

Al Baker said the order for four 777F freighters “underpins the value that this airplane has also brought to our rapidly growing cargo operations. Qatar Airways Cargo is an integral part of the Qatar Airways Group and we look forward to enhancing the existing fleet with next-generation airplanes.”

July 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched its second new destination of the year, touching down in the Spice Island of Zanzibar (ZNZ) on July 1st, becoming (QTA)’s third route in Tanzania served from its Doha (DOH) hub, following Dar es Salaam, and Kilimanjaro. (QTA) will initially operate 5x-weekly to Zanzibar, via Kilimanjaro. However, from October 1, it will offer an additional 2x-weekly flights. Out of the daily flights, passengers will be able to fly non-stop to Zanzibar 3x-weekly and on a linked flight via Kilimanjaro 4x-weekly. (QTA) (CCO), Marwan Koleilat, who was on the inaugural flight said: “This latest route marks yet another significant milestone for (QTA) that has spread its international wings to its 20th gateway in Africa and 148th destination globally.” The 3,943 km sector is operated by (QTA)’s 144-seat A320 fleet, and will face no direct competition.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) became Faisalabad’s (LYP) second international service in the space of a week, following the start of flydubai (FDB)’s service to Dubai. Operated on a thrice-weekly basis from the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance’s Doha (DOH) hub, the service commenced on July 17. The day before, the (MEB3) carrier launched a 4x-weekly service to Sialkot (SKT), also in Pakistan. Both sectors are flown by (QTA)’s 144-seat A320 fleet, and neither will face any direct competition. The two new routes join (QTA)’s existing four routes to Pakistan (namely to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) is to introduce its first 747-400F, which will operate for its cargo division. The 747-400BCF converted freighter will join the fleet in August. Two months later it will be replaced with another 747-400F which has nose-door loading.

Qatar Airways Cargo currently uses 8 777F and 6 A330Fs, and is expanding its fleet with more of each type.

News Item A-4: "Qatar Airways (QTA) Submits Report to USA Government on "Open Skies" Dispute" by (ATW) Karen Walker, July 31, 2015

(QTA) has submitted a white paper to the USA government answering USA airline allegations of unfair competitive behavior and state subsidies. The 60-page document refutes the white paper commissioned by the three USA majors, saying it is full of factual errors and part of an anti-competition campaign.

The dispute has seen American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) join forces against (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD), and Etihad Airways (EHD). In what has turned into a long, bitter and sometimes ugly fight, the USA carriers contend that USA "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar are being abused. The dispute has also divided USA carriers (all-cargo operators and some smaller, independent airlines dislike the campaign and fear a backward step in "Open Skies" policy).

(QTA) is the last of the Gulf carriers to submit a white paper to the USA government, which is reviewing the allegations and counterpoints to see whether consultations are warranted on the terms those "Open Skies" agreements and fair market practice requirements are being adhered to. It is not yet clear if the USA will call for talks with the (UAE) and Qatar.

(UAL) (CEO), Jeff Smisek told a New York audience on July 30 that the USA carriers would not give up their campaign.

(QTA)’s submission focuses chiefly on the changing global aviation market place and how Gulf carriers provide service to and through the Middle East to Indian sub-continent destinations, that the USA majors do not serve.

The report urges the USA government to see the USA campaign as “a transparent (and concerted) attempt by the Big Three to block introduction of air service options that offer an alternative to their own.”

The (QTA) report also points to benefits the USA carriers have received (especially USA Chapter 11 practices that permit carriers to write off debt as part of court-approved restructurings) and which it says are subsidies. And it says the USA airline report contains many factual errors, including such things as the launch years of (QTA) and Etihad (EHD).

The report emphasizes the benefits (QTA) believes it has brought to USA passengers, pointing out that this is the purpose of "Open Skies."

In a media statement issued July 31 to confirm it has submitted its report, (QTA) said, “many of the market changes complained of by the Big 3 are not the product of “unfair competition” (or anything remotely related to subsidy), but are instead the byproduct of important advances in airplane technology and significant demographic changes. With ultra-long range [Boeing] 777 and 787 airplanes, passengers bound for the Middle East and India can now over-fly congested European hubs, and enjoy convenient one-stop services to their destinations, instead of making longer two-and three stop journeys. These technological changes have shortened travel times, and have brought families and businesses closer together.”

Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker added: “It is puzzling to see the biggest USA carriers describe (QTA) as a “threat,” given our small size and lack of direct competition with them. Their long-standing focus on other markets, and large (and growing) profits completely undercut this claim. The "Open Skies" model was developed by the American carriers and has demonstrated how "Open Skies" paves the way for an open economy. We are concerned to see the Big 3 seek to change the rules of the game as soon as they see USA consumers respond well to the services offered by a competitor. (QTA) is proud of its signature five-star service, brand identity, and the high standards we deliver to our passengers on board.”

777-3DZ (60331, A7-BEE) delivery.

August 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced its seventh destination in Pakistan on August 2, having recently started flights to Faisalabad on July 17, with the start of a 3x-weekly service to Multan (MUX) from its hub in Doha (DOH). The 1,670 km sector will be flown by (QTA)’s A320 fleet, but will face no direct competition on the city pair. It is interesting to note that fellow (MEB3) carrier Emirates (EAD) also started its own operations to Multan at this time.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) has taken delivery of its first 747-400BCF (24998, TC-ACH), subsequently deploying the airplane on flights to Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok and Beijing Capital as of this month.

“A dedicated charter airplane will enable Qatar Airways (QTA) Cargo to satisfy growing demand from our customers for capacity in the ad-hoc charter market," (QTA) Chief Officer Cargo, Ulrich Ogiermann said. "The addition of the 747-400BCF freighter will enable further flexibility, by supplementing our existing scheduled services as and when required.”

It is to be recalled that the 747-400BCF, wet-leased from myCargo Airlines ((IATA) Code: 9T, based at Istanbul Atatürk) (ACC), will be replaced with a nose-loading 747-400F in October this year.

(QTA) also operates six A330-243Fs and eight 777-2ZFs freighters on flights across the globe.

(QTA) currently operates 164 airplanes, to 76 countries, 152 destinations, on 203 routes and 479 daily flights.

747-433F (24998, TC-ACH), ex-(B-2477), wet-leased from MyCargo Airlines (ACC).

September 2015: News Item A-1: Accident: 777-3DZER (GE90-115BL2) (731-36010 /08 A7-BAC) performing flight QR-778 from Miami, Florida (USA) to Doha (Qatar), lined up runway 09 at taxiway T1 (approximately 2600 meters/8500 feet takeoff distance available, full runway length 3968 meters/13,016 feet) and departed Miami's runway 09 but struck the approach lights runway 27 during departure. Both tower, departure controllers as well as flight crew (FC) maintained routine communication. The 777 continued to its destination for a landing without further incident about 13.5 hours later.

On September 17th 2015, the (FAA) reported the 777 struck approach lights on departure from Miami and continued to its destination. The 777 received substantial damage to its belly.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) has launched a new service to its eighth destination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with four flights a week to Abha (AHB). The city of Abha is the capital of Asir, a south-western province in (KSA). The inaugural flight from Doha (DOH) landed on September 2. “We have been steadily growing our presence and services to Saudi Arabia for the past 18 years,” said Qatar Airways Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker. “As our eighth destination in the Kingdom, Abha will bring additional flexibility for passengers connecting from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. From Abha, our passengers will now be able to travel seamlessly through our state-of-the-art Doha hub, Hamad International Airport to popular cities such as London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore, New York, and Washington. At the same time, this will provide passengers travelling to Saudi Arabia from international markets, the convenience of another gateway.” Qatar Airways (QTA) began operations to the (KSA) in 1997 with non-stop flights to Jeddah. (QTA) has since added Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Gassim, Taif, and Hofuf to its portfolio of destinations, and currently operates 84 weekly flights to Saudi Arabia. The new route will be operated by (QTA)’s 144-seat A320s with no direct competition.

787-8 (38341, A7-BCW), delivery.

October 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) resumes daily, Doha - Nagpur Airbus A320 service on December 1.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) is to introduce a daily Doha - Adelaide schedule using Airbus A350 XWB aircraft from May 2016.

The new route will be the first A350 schedule flying into Australia, and will capitalize on “the A350’s efficiency and performance” to enable the new 12-hour flight, according to (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker.

The new schedule comes on the heels of an air services agreement (ASA) extension between Australia and Qatar, that allows (QTA) to operate up to 21 flights per week to a range of metro and regional airports across Australia.

(QTA) currently offers services to Melbourne and Perth. (QTA), the Qatar flag carrier has already said it will introduce a new Sydney service in March, with the possibility of other Australian destinations in coming months.

South Australia Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell said the Doha direct new schedule could boost Australia’s economy by up to $29 million through increased visitor numbers.

“Qatar Airways (QTA) flies to [many] destinations around the world . . . and this relationship will help boost our trade opportunities,” he said.

The introduction of the new schedule will help push (QTA)’s presence in the Australian market in the face of growing competition from other Gulf carriers, Etihad Airways (EHD) and Emirates Airline (EAD). Both have established code share agreements with local Australian carriers; (EHD) with Virgin Australia (VOZ), and (EAD) with Qantas (QAN).

Emirates (EAD) is the only Gulf carrier flying long-haul direct to Adelaide, using Boeing 777-300ER airplanes on a daily schedule.

News Item A-3: "Qatar (CEO) Sees (IFE) Systems Disappearing; Pleased with (IATA) (NDC) Tests" by (ATW) Karen Walker, October 20, 2015.

The need for installed (IFE) systems on board airliners will disappear as personal smart devices proliferate and connectivity services broaden, the Head of Qatar Airways (QTA) believes. (QTA) Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker shared his views on the future of commercial air travel on October 20 at the (IATA) World Passenger Symposium in Hamburg. He said he could foresee a day when (IFE) systems would no longer be needed. “People will bring along their own smart devices, hook them into the seat, and select whatever content they want to see,” he said.

Al Baker also revealed that that Qatar Airways (QTA) will shortly roll out its own New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative with Farelogix following a pilot program. (NDC) is an (IATA)-led initiative to create a set of global standards for how airlines present and distribute their products, allowing them, Global Distribution System (GDS)s travel agencies to present each airline’s custom products, such as premium economy (PY) cabin facilities, types of on board services and checked baggage fee policies, at the time of ticket selection and purchase.

(IATA) has been conducting a number of pilot programs with some airlines to test (NDC) as it gets nearer to implementing the standard. In addition to (QTA), other airlines that have been testing (NDC) schema include Avianca (AVI), British Airways (BAB), China Southern (GUN), and Swiss (CSR).

“Qatar Airways (QTA) is pleased to announce its pilot program with Farelogix, whereby we would now extend this experience to our travel agent partners and intermediaries on the ground. This will enable everyone to experience our airline’s premium products before passengers have even stepped onto a plane,” Al Baker said.

(QTA) has been actively engaged in the (NDC) development since it was introduced in 2012.

Al Baker said the program was “doing very well,” although he added that his airline wanted to “keep a plan B” until it was certain that (NDC) was activated.

At a separate media briefing during (WPS), (IATA) Director General, Tony Tyler commented that he was “delighted” with (NDC) progress, which was moving toward implementation. “This has been a huge initiative,” he said. “In the past, one airline would have worked with one (GDS) and created a unique set of protocols that would have been very difficult for everyone to join. (NDC) brings a global scale; it’s taken a long time to get where we are today, and we still have a way to go, but we know it’s going to happen and it’s happening in the right way.”

Al Baker, in his (WPS) presentation, added that, “the passenger experience is key when it comes to governing the operations of an airline. In a world of growing choice, travel classes, routes and airline alliances, we must drive forward the overall passenger experience to make journeys as seamless, safe and smooth as possible.”

He also noted that being part of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance brought “a wide array” of network choices to his customers. But he added that he thought it was “a big mistake” for Oneworld (ONW) not to encompass small airlines.

“Small airlines can make a huge contribution to an alliance, and we should be very open to embracing them,” he said.

November 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin daily, Doha - Sydney service on March 1.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) is not interested in taking a stake in another European airline, but is looking at the option of buying into Royal Air Maroc (RAM) or Indigo (IGO).

News Item A-3: Al Maha Airways: A320-214 (6811, A7-LAH), ex-(F-WWID), leased from Qatar Airways (QTA). Saudi Gulf Airlines: A320-232 (6455, HZ-SGA), ex-(F-WWBH) 2015-11.

Saudi Arabia domestic newcomers (Al Maha Airways and Saudi Gulf Airlines) are experiencing further launch delays into 2016 as they aim to take advantage of liberalized rules.

It had originally been anticipated that both Al Maha Airways, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways (QTA), and Saudi Gulf Airlines, the first airline venture from the Saudi-based Al Qahtani group of companies, would begin flying by late 2014. The latest estimate given earlier this year was that Saudi Gulf Airlines would be flying in November.

However, operations are now expected to start next year, according to a statement from the Saudi regulator, the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). According to reports from Saudi Arabia, (GACA) has asked the two new carriers to complete safety procedures before their air operator’s certificates (AOC)s are granted.

“The two airlines have bought a fleet of aircraft required for operation in the Kingdom. The first plane for Saudi Gulf Airlines would arrive by the end of this month,” said (GACA)’s assistant President for Safety & Transport, Abdul Hakeem Al-Badr.

“We expect the two operators to complete final procedures to get the necessary license, including safety measures,” Al-Badr told Arabic-language daily newspaper "Al-Watan."

Qatar Airways (QTA) said it would not comment on Al Maha until a final resolution is achieved and an announcement made on service start up.

The two new airlines are expected to provide competition to national carrier Saudia (SVA), which currently holds around 90% of the domestic market, and hybrid carrier flynas.

December 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) re-started flights to the Indian destination of Nagpur (NAG) on December 1, taking (QTA)’s total weekly passenger flights from 95 to 102 across 13 key cities in India from its hub in Doha (DOH). Nagpur is the third largest city in the Indian state of Maharashtra and is a major trade and business center. (QTA), the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier will operate its 144-seat A320s daily between Doha and Nagpur, with an average flight time of just over >4 hours on the 2,836 km route which faces no direct competition.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to add Nagpur as (QTA)’s 13th destination in India. The additional service is evidence of the growing demand in the Indian market and further strengthens our commitment and focus in the region. (QTA) is proud of the fact that we serve more destinations in India than any other country in our network. Leisure and business (C) travelers from Nagpur can now experience enhanced connectivity to more than >150 international destinations through seamless connections via Doha’s Hamad International Airport. We look forward to welcoming new passengers on-board to experience our award-winning product, and to connect Nagpur to the rest of our rapidly expanding network.” Since the beginning of the year, (QTA) has begun services to Amsterdam, Zanzibar, Abha, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Multan.

(QTA) launched a new service between Doha (DOH) and Durban (DUR), operating via its existing route to Johannesburg, on December 17. The 4x-weekly 787-8 service to the host city for "World Routes in 2015" further complements (QTA)'s existing daily flights to Cape Town and 2x-daily flights to Johannesburg.

News Item A-2: "Lufthansa (DLH), not Qatar Airways (QTA), to be Airbus A320neo Launch Operator" by (ATW) Jens Flottau, December 9, 2015.

Airbus (EDS)is making a last-minute swap and now plans to deliver the first Airbus A320neo to Lufthansa (DLH), not to Qatar Airways (QTA).

According to industry sources, the change was made because of operational restrictions that are still in place for the Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1100G) engine, pending some hardware and software changes. (PRW) is working on hardware changes to the bearing of the engine shaft and a software update. Until those changes are made, the engine has to run in idle for 3 minutes following startup. The aircraft cannot taxi under its own power until the 3 minutes have elapsed.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has told Airbus (EDS) that it is not prepared to take the aircraft under these circumstances, and will not do so until the restrictions are lifted. Changes are expected to be implemented within a matter of weeks.

Lufthansa Group (CEO), Carsten Spohr confirmed that (DLH) has agreed, in principle, to take the first A320neo. Some regulatory issues have to be sorted out and (DLH) expects to be financially compensated for the operational restrictions that are in place for now. The negotiations could, therefore, still fail. However, if the two sides come to an agreement, the first A320neo is now expected to be delivered to (DLH) from Hamburg-Finkenwerder on December 22, which would enable (EDS) to stick to its target of delivering the first aircraft before the end of the year.

(DLH) plans to introduce the first A320neo into revenue service on January 6. Because of the limitations to the engine, it plans to deploy it on the Frankfurt - Hamburg route initially (it has large maintenance bases on both ends of it. (DLH) plans to take five A320neos in 2016).

Qatar Airways (QTA) is now planned to become the second A320neo operator, followed by Indian low-cost carrier Indigo (IGO).

(DLH) has ordered 101 A320neo-family aircraft. (QTA) has ordered a combined 50 A320neos and A321neos. Indigo (IGO) is the largest single customer for the aircraft, with orders for 430 aircraft.

While Pratt & Whitney (PRW) did not address the specific engine issues directly, it says both it and (EDS) “are working very closely with (QTA). We are excited that (QTA) selected the Geared Turbofan engine to power their A320neo aircraft and we appreciate their business. Along with Airbus (EDS), we are continuing to work with early customers on the first delivery of the aircraft. The team is on track to deliver the first A320neo this year.”

(PRW) added that “our engines and the aircraft are certified and are ready for delivery to customers this year. Our (GTF) engine’s technology is meeting or exceeding performance requirements on fuel burn, noise and emissions and is ready to enter service at this time.” The three (PW1100G)-powered A320neo flight-test aircraft accumulated over 1,070 flight hours in more than >350 flights prior to aircraft certification.

The (PW1100G)-powered A320neo was certified close to schedule at the end of November, despite a number of engine-related issues during the flight-test program. Following the start of flight tests in September 2014, the first known issue developed in April 2015, following a bird strike on the first aircraft, (MSN6101). Post-incident inspections unearthed a problem with a seal-retaining snap ring component buried so deep in the core that it required engine removal and replacement. The aircraft was subsequently grounded for four months, and only resumed flights in September.

The second test-aircraft, (MSN6286), meanwhile joined the program in March 2015 but was also grounded through May, June and the majority of July, while the same engine issue was corrected. Despite the recent certification, the second aircraft continues to fly, most recently conducting test and training missions around northern and western France. A third test aircraft (which was largely dedicated to building up hours on simulated airline-type operations) is also continuing to fly. Through early December, it has been flying medium-range flights from France to Spain and Finland.

Additional issues hit the (PW1100G) in October, when the first (PRW)-powered aircraft was completing hot-weather tests in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although the aircraft performed well during the tests, (PRW) made the decision to remove one of the engines as a precautionary move, after borescope inspections showed evidence of minor rubbing between the blades of the high-pressure compressor and the compressor wall. The aircraft diverted to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, and remained there for 11 days, while a new engine was fitted. This aircraft also continues in test and is currently conducting high altitude takeoff and landing performance work in El Alto, Bolivia.

January 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) rang in the New Year with a new daily, non-stop service between Hamad International Airport in Doha (DOH) and Los Angeles (LAX), which started January 1. The new route is operated by (QTA)’s 259-seat, 777-200LR fleet and represents (QTA)'s first passenger service to the USA West Coast. At 13,341 km it also replaces Houston as (QTA)’s longest route.

The expansion to (LAX) is the first of three new USA destinations planned for 2016, along with Boston on March 16 and Atlanta on June 1. “We are honored to bring our award-winning service to Los Angeles,” said (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker. “This great city embodies the glamor and sophistication that gave rise to the ’jet set’ lifestyle, when travel truly started to be part of our life experience. It is only fitting that we bring the world’s best airline experience to the people of Los Angeles.”

On the same day, (QTA) commenced daily A350 service to Philadelphia (replacing its existing 777-200LR operation), having brought its latest aircraft type to USA shores for the first time on December 8. Qatar Airways (QTA) will also begin A350 service to New York in April.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways Cargo received its seventh Airbus A330F and first Boeing 747F nose loader aircraft to its fleet at its home base in Hamad International Airport, Doha.

February 2016: News Item A-1: "Qatar Airways (QTA), Meridiana (ALS) Sign Partnership Agreement" by (ATW) Alan Dron, February 4, 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA) and the parent of Italian airline, Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on “a potential partnership project,” (ALS)/(EUY) said on February 4.

Few details were given by Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) in a brief statement, which was issued following several recent inaccurate stories in the Italian media about a link between the two carriers, according to spokeswoman, Loredana De Filippo.

“The two parties have agreed upon the pillars of the business proposition, which envisages a reinforcement of (ALS)/(EUY) with the objective of making it a solid player in the very competitive European aviation industry. The two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding which outlines the conditions precedent for the partnership."

If those conditions are met, an agreement would conclude in the first half of this year, the statement added. De Filippo declined to give further details, notably on whether Qatar Airways (QTA) would take a shareholding in Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY).

(QTA) issued a similarly brief statement. It has been known (QTA) has been looking closely at (ALS)/(EUY) for several months.

The (MOU) has been signed by (QTA) and Alisarda, a holding company that forms part of the portfolio of interests held by the Aga Khan, the leader of the worldwide Ismailia Moslem community. Aga Khan has had a longstanding interest in the economic development of Sardinia.

Alisarda (Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY)’s original name when it was created in 1963) also controls Sardinian airport management company Geasar, operator of Olbia Airport on the Mediterranean island.

Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) operates a fleet of nine Boeing 737s (two 737-300s, three 737-700s and four 737-800s), four 767s (three 767-300s and a single 767-200), and seven MD-82s. It operates under two brands, Meridiana Fly (ALS) and Air Italy (EUY), although the latter operates purely as a capacity provider to Meridiana (ALS) and flies in the latter’s livery.

Like many medium-sized European airlines, Meridiana (ALS) has struggled in the face of competition from low-cost carriers in recent years. The Italian government has been helping to foot its wages bill, but told the airline last year that it should seek a partner.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced a major expansion program across Eastern Europe, with additional flights to Croatia, Hungary, and Azerbaijan.

Flights to Zagreb and Budapest are increasing to a 10x-weekly service from a current daily service from April 3 and July 3 respectively, while flights to Baku are increasing to an 11x-weekly service, also from a current daily scheduled flight, from March 27.

(QTA) also said it is also launching new direct flights from Doha to Belgrade from March 16, a destination currently served by (QTA) via Sofia on a 4x-weekly schedule.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: "(QTA) is expanding rapidly, not only in terms of new places and our network offering, but also with the service we offer."

In response to increasing demand, one of the airline's double-daily services to Moscow Domodedovo International Airport is currently served with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which offers +122 more seats per departure than the A320 aircraft previously used for this flight.

Meanwhile, flights to Warsaw will be upgraded to the Airbus A330 aircraft from July 1, increasing seat capacity on the daily scheduled service from Doha. The Airbus A320 currently serves Warsaw and the second daily frequency service to Moscow.

News Item A-3: "Qatar Airways Threatens to Cancel Pratt & Whitney Engine Order" by Reuters, February 17, 2016.

Qatar Airways threatened to cancel an order for Pratt & Whitney (PRW) engines for its new fleet of Airbus (EDS) narrow body jets, saying the newly developed powerplant has a "lot of problems."

(QTA) has ordered 50 A320neo-family aircraft and was originally due to take the first delivery in December, but rejected the jet due to what it called an engine problem, and the first jet went to Lufthansa (DLH) instead.

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said "Let me be very clear: it is not the fault of Airbus (EDS). (EDS) has delivered all of their part, and as you know, no airplane can fly without an engine - and (PRW) has huge issues with their engine. (QTA) will not accept the aircraft unless those engines are very much corrected. Otherwise we may have no alternative but to look at an alternate engine supply.

News Item A-4: "Could Akbar Al Baker Dump the (GTF) for the (LEAP)?"
by Aaron Karp in his AirKarp Blog, February 25, 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA)’s (CEO) threatens to “cancel the entire Pratt & Whitney (PRW) order.”

The Airbus A320neo is particularly fascinating because, in a commercial aircraft manufacturing era that is mostly about engine technology, it offers a direct "mano a mano" duel between the Pratt & Whitney (PRW) geared turbofan (GTF) and the (CFM) International (LEAP) engine programs. With airlines able to choose between the (PW1100G) and the (LEAP-1A) to power their A320neo family aircraft, we will be able to see which next-generation engine performs better under which circumstances. But most observers figured it would be some time, after multiple aircraft with the engine options were in service for a quantifiable period, before any definitive conclusions could be reached.

Qatar Airways (QTA) CEO Akbar Al Baker, never one to shy away from a controversy, is already threatening to throw a burning ember on the (GTF) vs (LEAP) fire. (QTA) was supposed to be the A320neo launch customer, but backed out late last year because of operating restrictions related to startup time on the (PW1100G)s powering the A320neos designated for (QTA). Lufthansa (DLH) took the first A320neo instead, and it’s now unclear when (QTA) will begin taking the 50 (GTF)-powered A320neos it has on order.

At the recent Singapore Airshow, Al Baker said (QTA) will refuse to accept any A320neos until the (PW1100G) is “very much corrected,” according to "Reuters." He said he wanted to be “very clear” that Airbus (EDS) is not at fault, but “no airplane can fly without an engine.” Al Baker is happy with the A320neo and is not considering cancelling any of the 50 re-engined Airbus (EDS) narrow body aircraft (QTA) has on order. But “we could cancel the entire Pratt & Whitney (PRW) order” and may have “no alternative” but to switch to the (LEAP-1A), he said, adding that (PRW) has “months” to get the (PW1100G) up to Qatar (QTA)’s standards.

A day after Al Baker came down hard on (PRW), I was at a press briefing in Singapore given by (PRW) President Commercial Engines, Greg Gernhardt, who was read back Al Baker’s quotes by reporters and asked to reply.

Gernhardt maintained a polite, even tone. “We all realize Al Baker is a very demanding customer,” he said, later adding, “We all know Al Baker. He’s a demanding customer.”

Gernhardt said (PRW) has “been working very closely with (QTA),” adding, “We agree there are some minor tweaks we have to make.” He said the engines would be ready for (QTA) in the “June timeframe. At that point, the engines with all the fixes for the minor teething issues will be delivered.”

Just prior to traveling to Singapore for the air show, Gernhardt told me that “minor hardware changes and minor software changes” are all that is needed to resolve the (PW1100G)’s startup restrictions. “We’re extremely pleased with the way the aircraft and engine are performing in service [with Lufthansa (DLH)],” Gernhardt said. “Fuel burn is spot on.” He emphasized that “the basic architecture of the engine is fine. We don’t see any major retrofits or redesigns required.”

My take is that everyone involved (certainly Airbus (EDS) and (PRW), but also (QTA) (would very much like to avoid the complications of switching from (GTF)s to (LEAP)s for (QTA)’s 50 A320neos. (Though, of course, (GE) Aviation (GEC) and Snecma, which make up the (CFM) joint venture, wouldn’t mind!)

(PRW) is on the clock. It better have the fixes implemented on the (PW1100G) by June, not just for (QTA) but for the other initial A320neo customers who have ordered the (GTF). Airbus (EDS) said this week that A320neo deliveries would be “back-loaded” this year, which I interpreted as meaning that a number of the (PW1100G)-powered A320neos that were supposed to be delivered in the 2016 first half will be moved to the year’s second half. Spirit Airlines (SPR), which has five (PW1100G)-powered A320neos scheduled for delivery this year, has publicly stated it has been told to expect delays of up to several months.

Any additional delay tied to the (PW1100G) that pushes 2016 A320neo deliveries into 2017 could be disastrous for (PRW). There are still a lot of airlines deciding which engine choice to make for the A320neo. And if Al Baker were to follow through on his threat of dumping the (GTF) for the (LEAP), would other airline (CEO)s feel empowered to follow? (PRW) absolutely does not want to find out.

News Item A-5: "Qatar Airways Eyes More Doha - Asia Routes for A350-1000" by Jeremy Torr, (ATW) Plus, February 18, 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA), which is the launch customer for the Airbus A350-1000, is looking to establish more long-haul routes from its home base in Doha to Asia when it takes delivery of its first A350-1000 in 2017. “We will see how the routes using this aircraft evolve as it is used, but we will look at Asia as well as Europe and the USA,” Qatar (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow.

See photo - "QTA-A350-1000 - 2016-02" taken at Singapore Airshow.

March 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) celebrated its first flight from Doha (DOH) to Sydney (SYD) on March 1, making this (QTA)’s third gateway into Australia. (QTA) now operates a 777-300 daily on the route (see photo - "QTA-2016-03 - Doha to Sydney.jpg"), and has been serving Australia since 2009, when it commenced flights to Melbourne, later adding flights to Perth in 2012.

While Qatar Airways (QTA) faces no direct competition, fellow (MEB3) carriers Emirates (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) both offer multiple daily services from their respective hubs, the former 3x-daily (4x-daily when partner Qantas (QAN) is considered) and the latter, 11x-weekly.

News Item A-2: "Qatar (CEO) Losing Patience With Pratt (PRW) On A320neo Engines" by Jens Flottau, Aviation Daily, March 10, 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker says (QTA) can walk away from an order for Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1100G) engines equipping its Airbus A320neo fleet.

Qatar Airways (QTA), which announced major route expansion for 2016/2017, warned that the A320neo delivery delay may affect growth plans.

April 2016: Qatar Airways (QTA) will replace Airbus A320s with Boeing 787s on its daily, Doha - Geneva service on July 1.

May 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) said it has raised its ownership stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG) to 15.01%.

(QTA) originally acquired a 9.99% stake in the (IAG), the parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL) in January 2015. It raised that stake to just under <12% last month, and now has moved to the 15.01% holding.

Like (IAG) carriers (BAB) and (IBE), Qatar (QTA) is a member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.

(QTA) said that “the increased stake recognizes the strengthening commercial and strategic ties between the companies,” adding, “Qatar Airways (QTA) believes the (IAG) is very well positioned in Europe on the back notably of its attractive exposure to the transatlantic segment, its leading positions at the London and Madrid hubs, and the future benefits from the acquisition of Aer Lingus (ARL).”

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said the “relationship formed [with the (IAG)] has helped to deliver on our westbound strategy.”

(QTA) said it “may consider increasing its stake further over time within the allowable limits.” It can own up to 49% of (IAG) under European Union (EU) rules.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) is to launch its service to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on June 1st. Atlanta will be (QTA)’s 10th USA destination. This route will be inaugurated with a (QTA) Airbus A380 ((QTA)’s first A380 route to the USA), but will be replaced by the Boeing 777-200LR the following day.

(QTA) also launched nonstop service from Doha to Los Angeles and Boston earlier this year.

The majority of a presentation by the Qatar Group (CEO), His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker consisted of promoting Qatar as a destination, instead of being just another connection point. The bulk of his speech involved going through a slide show of all of the things that Hamad International Airport offers travelers, along with notable attractions in or near Doha (such as the renowned Souq Waqif market, the waterfront area known as "the Corniche," the incredible Museum of islamic Art, which was designed by I M Pei, and the upcoming 2022 (FIFA) World Cup Soccer finals.

In regard to the Atlanta market, Al Baker said its inaugural flight into Atlanta was oversold by +27 passengers, and that the load factor is over >70% LF for the foreseeable future. This is contrary to former Delta (DALO) (CEO), Richard Anderson’s speculation that (QTA)’s flights would only carry six or seven passengers. This preliminary load factor could be due to introductory fare sales, so it will be important to watch, as time goes on.

Qatar Airways (QTA)’s home hub of Hamad International Airport just completed its second year of operation, and Al Baker shared that the airport has already outgrown its original capacity plan. The airport was originally designed to handle 30 million passengers per year, but handled 31 million in just its second year. Later this year, a third phase of building will begin, and will accommodate a brand new 1.5 km long concourse, that will double the airport’s capacity 60 million passengers annually. It is due to be completed by 2020 or 2021, in time for the 2022 soccer World Cup.

The ever outspoken Al Baker also spoke about (QTA)’s fleet woes, and directly blamed Airbus (EDS) for slowing (QTA)’s growth. When asked about the A320neo, he replied, “They’re not there yet. We walked away from its first A320neo delivery” because of continued problem issues with the A320neo engines from Pratt & Whitney (PRW). He also said that because (QTA) walked away from its first customer A320neo delivery, it allowed them to walk away from others as well.

The delivery delays have slowed (QTA)’s growth plans. He said, “We have +5 more routes that we would like to announce, but we can’t because of delivery delays from Airbus (EDS).” In spite of that, he seemed proud when mentioning that (QTA) is the only airline to operate every Airbus (EDS) aircraft type.

(QTA)’s total fleet numbers 184 airplanes, including their 29th 787-8 Dreamliner, and their 50th 777. When asked about the possibility of ordering the Bombardier (BMB) C Series in the wake of the delays from Airbus (EDS), he said, “No. I’ll leave those for other people.”

During the "question and answer" session, Al Baker was asked if he could provide any details of the highly anticipated (QTA) Business (C) Class product that he has been alluding to for over a year. He would only share that it will be introduced this November to the media in Doha, and that it will enter service on retrofit Boeing 777s. He said the current Business (C) Class product (while very nice) is merely a stopgap until this product is implemented.

He was also asked if any progress has been made with the "Open Skies" subsidies debate. He said, “I would not like to get into too much detail about this, except that we have submitted all of our filings to the USA government, and we are waiting for them to make a decision, but at the end of the day, I am sure that the USA government will do what is in the best interest of the American public, and that we have already proven that the allegations made against us are incorrect and unfounded.”

In regard to Atlanta being a hub for Delta (DAL), one of (QTA)’s biggest competitors, Al Baker said, “The airport is a private entity. They need service from our region, and we’re here to provide that.”

Al Baker also said that (QTA) will apply for lounge space at Atlanta for its premium passengers, in order to to meet the standard of service they provide in Doha. Al Baker said their current Airbus A350s do not have the range to serve Atlanta, but that they will re-evaluate it, once the longer range A350-1000s enter service.

During the meeting, news broke that (QTA)’s investment stake in British Airways (BAB) parent company, the (IAG) amounted now to 15.01%. “We fully support their strategy, which gives us additional exposure on the transatlantic segment.” He noted that this gives (QTA) additional strength at (BAB)’s London Heathrow (LHR) hub, and (QTA) may consider purchasing an additional stake in the future, as well as stakes in other foreign airline entities.

June 2016: News Item A-1: A June 26 deadline concluded negotiations that would allow Qatar Airways (QTA) to take a major stake in Italian carrier Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY).

(QTA) proposed taking a 49% shareholding in (ALS)/(EUY), which has been loss-making since 2008 and kept afloat by financial infusions from its ultimate owner, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. The Aga Khan, the leader of the world’s Ismailia Moslem community, created the airline in 1963 to promote tourism in Sardinia.

(QTA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) in February, under which it would take up to 49% shareholding in a strategic partnership and improve the carrier’s financial position.

However, (QTA) said it was only prepared to get involved if (ALS)/(EUY) could cut its workforce, which currently comprises 1,600 employees. It said -527 (mainly cabin crew (CA)) would have to go to bring staff numbers down to (QTA)’s desired level.

Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) warned staff that if it did not reach an agreement with (QTA) to gain its support, a much larger number of redundancies (—955) would be required to sustain the airline.

Talks between the (ALS)/(EUY) and its unions have been taking place in Rome. On June 21, (QTA) walked away from the negotiating table, citing the unions’ reluctance to reach an agreement. It was encouraged to return by Italian Transport Minister, Graziano Delrio, who is heavily involved in the redundancy talks.

Qatar (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker added he wanted to grow Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) as an independent airline, which would retain its brand. He noted (QTA) has nearly 70 weekly frequencies from Doha to Italy (a link-up with (ALS)/(EUY) offers the opportunity to feed passengers into its domestic and international networks.

He also said (ALS)/(EUY) needs refleeting and has offered to help provide new aircraft. ”You don’t expect me to be a substantial shareholder and to fly with 35-year-old MD-80s,” he said. “Qatar Airways (QTA)’s oldest aircraft is 10 years old. Several Airbus A330s and A320s can be transferred to Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) as (QTA) gets more aircraft.”

An (ALS)/(EUY) spokeswoman said that Sardinia, a popular European holiday destination, represents “a big opportunity, if you serve it with a brand that is known abroad.” Meridiana’s name is well known in Italy, but not internationally. Being able to attach the Qatar Airways (QTA)’s brand to its own, would boost its presence in international markets, she said.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Bakar has confirmed his interest in a strategic joint business partnership in Africa’s Royal Air Maroc (RAM), which was unveiled in May 2015. The national carrier of Morocco offers huge potential to create a hub in Africa, according to Al Baker. “North Africa has no hub. We would not only invest in the airline, but also develop the Casablanca airport [Mohammed V International Airport],” Al Baker said.

August 2016: News Item A-1: INCDT: Qatar Airways (QTA) has confirmed that a bird strike was the cause of an Airbus A330-302 (CF6-80E1A4B) (918, /08 A7-AEO) engine fire that forced the aircraft to return to Istanbul Atatürk Airport shortly after takeoff on August 18.

A (QTA) spokeswoman earlier confirmed the aircraft, which was en route from Istanbul to Doha, returned to Istanbul and landed safely. “The passengers disembarked as normal and the pilots (FC) followed all Qatar Airways (QTA) safety procedures. An Airbus A330 was operating the flight with 298 passengers and 14 crew on board. The investigation is underway,” a (QTA) spokeswoman in London said. According to Flightradar 24, the A330-300 turned back after 15 minutes of flying time.

Unconfirmed video footage and photos, posted online, appear to show sporadic flames from the aircraft’s left engine and initial images of the damage sustained in the incident.

Ataturk airport is nearby to the Mediterranean Sea. It is understood that during frequent visits in Istanbul, seabirds have been frequently spotted within the airport area.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has 15 A330-200s, 13 A330-300s and eight A330-243F freighters in its 189-aircraft fleet.

News Item A-2: A330-202 (616, A7-ALJ), lease return to Hamburg. A350-941 (25, A7-ALJ), ex-(F-WZFT) delivery.

September 2016: News Item A-1: "(EU), Qatar To Begin "Open Skies" Talks" by Cathy Buyck,

Negotiations between the officials of the European Commission (EC) and the government of Qatar for an "open-skies" agreement covering all member states of the (EU) and the Persian Gulf country will start this month. A 1st round of talks will take place September 19 to 21 in Doha, Qatar, and there will be “real” negotiations based on a “concrete” text.

(EU) governments in June granted the (EC) authorization to negotiate comprehensive air transport agreements with members of the Association of SE Asian Nations (ASEAN), Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The (ASEAN) and Turkey officially confirmed their interest to take part in "open-skies" negotiations soon after the (EC) received the mandates, but the position of the Persian Gulf emirates was more ambiguous.

A number of legacy airlines in Europe (specifically Air France (AFA) - (KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH)) are accusing Doha-based Qatar Airways (QTA) and its (UAE) rivals, Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways, of receiving unfair subsidies from their government owners (allegations the Gulf carriers deny).

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker in recent months said he
and the Qatari government have no issue with the (EC) wanting
to talk about a level playing field. He admitted, however, that the
willingness to concluding an (EU)-wide comprehensive aviation
agreement has limitations. “If [the (EC)] want[s] to renegotiate all existing bilaterals and put additional restrictions [to market access], then [the answer] is no,” Al Baker said.

It appears that Qatar is ready to take the plunge (and it wants to be the 1st). “The Qataris wanted to be the 1st [of the 4 mandates] to engage with the (EC) on an "open-skies" agreement. If the talks will lead to an agreement, remains to be seen.”

The "open-skies" mandates with the (ASEAN), Qatar, Turkey and the (UAE) include a sunset clause that limits the duration of the
negotiations to 3 years for the Gulf states and to 4 years for
the (ASEAN) and Turkey. Concluding an agreement with Qatar by June 2019 could be challenging, especially with the added uncertainty and complexities associated with the UK’s recent decision to exit the (EU). Negotiations with the (ASEAN) are due to start at the end of
October, and with Turkey in November. The tense relations between Turkey and the (EU) following the July failed Turkish coup has no effect on the "open-skies" negotiations, the (EC) official said, noting the Turkish aviation sector is “very keen” on an agreement.

News Item A-2: (QTA) has become the 1st airline to sign on for the Aireon-FlightAware flight tracking solution GlobalBeacon.

Using Aireon’s spaced-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology, (QTA) will be able to track its aircraft on a minute-by-minute basis starting in 2018. Aireon-generated data will be fed into FlightAware’s system, which includes information on a flight’s origin, destination, flight plan route, position and estimated time of arrival.

(QTA) said GlobalBeacon will enable it to meet (ICAO)’s mandate that aircraft autonomously transmit location every minute during emergency circumstances, which is set to take effect in 2021.

In addition to meeting the (ICAO) distress tracking mandate ahead of schedule, (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said GlobalBeacon will “further enhance our fleet management by providing updates every minute.” He added, “We will be the first airline in the world to have the capability to use worldwide satellite air surveillance to support our airline operations and to achieve the highest of flight tracking standards ahead of the (ICAO) 2021 mandate.”

Aireon (CEO) Don Thoma added that “no new avionics will be required” on (QTA)’s fleet of 190 aircraft to enable GlobalBeacon. Aireon is based in McLean, Virginia.

News Item A-3: The ongoing dispute between Qatar Airways (QTA) and Airbus (EDS) regarding outstanding deliveries of A320neos and A350s is entering the next round, after (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said he canceled orders for +2 more A320neos. Al Baker said at a press event in Doha, Qatar, that the problems surrounding the new aircraft remain unresolved.

October 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has placed an order for 30 Boeing 787-9s and 10 777-300ERs, and signed a letter of intent (LOI) for up to 60 737 MAX 8s.

The firm wide body orders are valued at $11.7 billion at list prices and the 60 737 MAX 8s are valued at $6.9 billion, bringing the potential value of the airplane deal to $18.6 billion.

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said at an October 7 press conference in Washington DC that (QTA)’s commitment to the 737 MAX 8 does not mean (QTA) is giving up on the Airbus A320neo, of which it was supposed to be the launch operator but has refused to take delivery.

Al Baker said (QTA) still has 50 A320neos on order, though (QTA) had previously indicated it had walked away from some of the A320neos it had ordered. “We never renege on contracts that we sign,” Al Baker said. “We will continue to get those airplanes. As you know, the neos are having problems. For us to mitigate the risk, we had no alternative but to order the reliable 737 family of airplanes.”

A (QTA) spokesperson later clarified that (QTA) has in fact walked away from 4 of the 50 A320neos it had on order because (QTA) does not believe Airbus (EDS) lived up to the terms of its contractual obligations on those aircraft. But (QTA) still wants to operate A320neos, the spokesperson said.

Qatar Airways (QTA) already operates 84 Boeing wide body airplanes and its firm order backlog for Boeing wide bodies has now been raised from 65 to 105 airplanes.

News Item A-2: See attached video on (QTA) Airbus A350 - -

November 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) and British Airways (BA) have expanded their code share partnership, adding a series of UK and European flights.

The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partners started their network partnership October 30, with (BAB) launching daily scheduled flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Doha on the same day. “As part of the agreement, all nonstop flights between the UK and Doha will operate under the code share agreement, allowing both (ONW) carriers to provide passengers with better links between the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” the carriers said.

The expanded code share will now also include all of (BAB)’s flights within the UK, covering Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, and Newcastle.

(QTA) will also code share on routes from London Heathrow to Europe, including all services to Dublin in Ireland; Hamburg and Stuttgart in Germany; Luxembourg; Basel in Switzerland; Bilbao, Malaga, Ibiza and Palma in Spain; Lisbon and Faro in Portugal; and Billund in Denmark.

On July 28, (QTA) increased its stake in the (IAG) to 20.01%, building on the 9.99% stake that it 1st acquired in January 2015. The (IAG) is the parent company of (BAb), Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), Madrid-based Iberia (IBE), and Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ).

News Item A-2: Brazil Clears Qatar Airways - (LATAM) Tie-up, but is Wary of (LATAM) - (IAG) (JV)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, November 17, 2016.

Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE), Brazil’s competition authority, has approved Qatar Airways (QTA)’s investment in the (LATAM) Airlines Group, but the regulator has also expressed misgivings about (LATAM)’s proposed joint venture (JV) with the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The approval of (QTA) taking up to a 10% stake in (LATAM) worth >$600 million is welcome news for (LATAM), the largest Latin American airline company, which believes foreign investment and transnational (JV)s are critical to its future. But the delay in approval of a transatlantic (JV) with (IAG) carriers British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) (Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partners with (LATAM)) is concerning to (LATAM) (CEO) Enrique Cueto.

At the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in Mexico City, Cueto said major airlines in North America, Europe and Asia in well-established antitrust-immunized (JV)s have an advantage over Latin American carriers. “Everything comes to our region 5 to 10 years later,” he said. “Either we get into this [JV] model or we’ll be bought by others and we’ll disappear.”

Cueto said competition authorities and labor unions concerned about (JV)s should understand that (JV)s will enable Latin American airlines to guarantee services and jobs over the long term, while being bought out altogether would mean nothing is secure. “(JV)s will guarantee a lot more than people think,” he said.

(CADE) said earlier this month that a (LATAM) - (IAG) (JV) “has the potential to cause harmful effects on competition,” particularly on the São Paulo - London and São Paulo - Madrid routes. (LATAM)’s application to start the (JV) with (IAG) has been forwarded to (CADE)’s Tribunal, which has final say on mergers and acquisitions in Brazil. (CADE) has jurisdiction over the proposed (JV) because one of (LATAM)’s primary subsidiarys, (LATAM) Brasil (formerly (TAM)(TPR)) is based in Brazil. (LATAM) is also seeking approval for a (JV) with American Airlines (AAL), but (CADE) has not reviewed that application yet.

* Attracting capital

Meanwhile, the investment from (QTA) provides a shot in the arm to (LATAM), which has struggled financially in recent years as Brazil and Latin American’s other economies have faltered. Speaking at the (ALTA) conference, Deutsche Bank Analyst Michael Linenberg pointed out that (LATAM)’s market capitalization stands at $5 billion today, less than half of (LATAM)’s implied equity value of $12 billion, when Chile’s (LAN) Airlines announced in 2011 that it was acquiring (TAM) (TPR) to form (LATAM). The merger closed in 2012.

At the time, the combined (LAN) - (TAM) market capitalization was higher than any airline in the world. (LATAM)’s current $5 billion equity value is just one-seventh of Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s $35 billion market capitalization, according to Linenberg, a demonstration of how much the global airline industry has changed in the last 5 years. But Linenberg predicted airlines from around the world will continue to invest in Latin American carriers, which still appear poised for strong long-term growth. “There’s a huge amount of potential in the region,” Linenberg said. “You have a lot of carriers in the world looking to invest in the region.” He said the economic fortunes of Latin American airlines are starting to brighten. “It does feel like we’re seeing a bottom here,” he noted.

Latin American airlines have “become an industry that is attracting capital” from outside the region, Aeromexico (AMX) (CEO) Andrés Conesa said. (AMX) and (DAL) earlier this month received tentative approval from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) for an antitrust-immunized cross-border (JV). (DAL) owns a minority stake in (AMX) that it has said could rise to as much as 49% once the (JV) is cleared.

Conesa said Latin American airlines are trying to take advantage of the (JV) model and outside investment, just as airlines have in Europe and the USA. European and USA carriers have gained significantly from a “very developed” transatlantic (JV) structure, he said, adding, “What we’re asking is to be on the same level as other airlines.” Conesa said the (DAL) - (AMX) (JV) “also makes sense for the consumer” and will create “an additional wave of traffic” for (AMX).

Panama-based Copa Airlines (COP) Holdings (CEO) Pedro Heilbron indicated that his company and other major Latin American airlines, such as Colombia’s Avianca (AVI), will also pursue (JV)s with carriers outside of the region. “As airlines such as (AMX) and (LATAM) get into (JV)s, it will put pressure on the other airlines in the region to do something,” he said. “We can’t be left out of the game.”

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker is expecting to conclude a deal to acquire 49% of Italian carrier Meridiana Fly (ALS) by January 2017.

Talks toward the deal have been going on for months. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in early February, which led to an agreement signed July 14 at the Farnborough Airshow. After several delays, the deal was expected to close by October. “We are hoping to have our discussions concluded by the end of January. During this period Meridiana Fly (ALS) also has to deliver certain conditions and achieve certain targets in its performance. We want (ALS) to be a very strong national carrier with a robust international network,” Al Baker said, speaking at a recent media briefing in Florence.

Sardinia-based (ALS) is the 2nd largest Italian airline, operating flights to domestic and European destinations using a fleet of Boeing 737s, 767s and MD-82s.

The (QTA) (CEO) also detailed further Italian expansion plans during his visit. “Once the runway extension at Florence Airport is complete, we fully intend to start a service to this historic city,” he said. “We are also committed to upgrading the aircraft type currently flying to Pisa from an A320 to a wide body model as soon as we receive more airplanes.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) operates to 4 Italian destinations: Milan (2x-daily), Pisa (daily), Rome (2x-daily) and Venice (daily).

December 2016: News Item A-1: "Qatar Airways Finalizes Stake in LATAM" by (ATW) Karen Walker, December 28, 2016.

(LATAM) Airlines Group (LAN)/(TPR) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have completed their transaction in which (QTA) has taken a 10% stake in the Latin America group.

The deal, which sees Qatar Airways (QTA) invest some $600 million through a capital increase in (LATAM), was completed December 28, (LATAM) announced. Both airlines are members of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance. “The entrance of (QTA) as a shareholder of (LATAM) represents a unique opportunity to develop a long-term relationship and explore new opportunities for connectivity with Asia and the Middle East,” (LATAM) said.

The transaction was granted Brazilian regulatory approval in November. But (LATAM) is still waiting for approval of a transatlantic immunized joint venture (JV) with British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE). Both European carriers are part of the (IAG) Group and are also Oneworld (ONW) Alliance members. (QTA) also has a 20% stake in the (IAG).

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) launched 7x-weekly Doha - Seychelles service on December 12.

News Item A-3: "Qatar Airways Wants to Swap Airbus A320neos for A321neos, New Delivery Date" By Tom Finn "Reuters" December 12, 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is in talks with Airbus (EDS) to convert its order for up to 80 A320neos to the larger A321neo. (QTA) has refused to accept 4 A320neos so far this year over claims of performance issues with the aircraft's engines. "We are in negotiations with Airbus about how we can continue our relationship and keep our order on track minus the ones that we canceled," (CEO) Akbar al-Baker said.
He said (QTA) wanted to take delivery of the larger A321neo jets from 2018 and was considering swapping the engine order to (CFM), a joint venture between General Electric Company and Safran SA of France.

Qatar Airways (QTA) has refused to accept planes with engines made by Pratt & Whitney (PRW), saying they required additional time to start under certain conditions. (QTA) said in May it was cutting frequencies on >12 routes from its Doha hub because of delivery delays of new aircraft from Airbus.

(QTA) announced on October 7 an order for as much as $18.6 billion worth of Boeing jets, including a letter of intent for 60 narrow body 737 MAX 8 jets valued at US$6.9 billion. The A320 and 737 compete in the largest segment of the aircraft market. At least some of those 737 MAXs will go to Meridiana Fly (ALS), to which (QTA) is talking of taking a 49% stake.

February 2017: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has taken the "world's longest flight" title away from MidEast rival Emirates Airline (EAD) with a 9,030-mile service on a Boeing 777-200LR jet flight from its base at Doha to Auckland, New Zealand. The route is 200 miles further than Emirates' record.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched its new record-breaking Auckland (AKL) service on February 5, arriving the following day on one of New Zealand’s most significant days of the year – "Waitangi Day." Celebrations to commemorate the launch of the world’s longest commercial flight from Doha (DOH), which takes 17 hours and 30 minutes and covers a distance of 14,535 km, included a traditional Maori dance on arrival. (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, who was on board the inaugural flight, said: “The launch of our new service to Auckland is an important milestone for Qatar Airways as we expand both in the region and globally across our network providing more options and better connections to exciting business and leisure destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) is set to unveil its new business (C) class seat at "(ITB)" Berlin on March 8. (QTA) said it will reveal the new seat, along with plans for the year ahead, during a press conference on the opening day of (ITB) Berlin.

“This year’s (ITB) exhibition will be the location at which we will premier our much-anticipated new business (C) class product. As an airline, we strive to offer our passengers the very best, not only in terms of our world class on board experience, but also our expanding global network,” Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said, hinting that some route developments will also be disclosed.

(QTA) has a fleet of 192 aircraft that serve >150 destinations, with new additions to Auckland, Chiang Mai, Dublin, Nice, and Skopje planned (and some already started) for 2017.

3 A350-941 (47, A7-ALN), ex-(F-WZGT) & 64, A7-AMB, 79, A7-AMA), ex-(PR-XTF & PR-XTG), ex-(LATAM BRAZIL (TPR)).

March 2017: News Item A-1: "Al Baker: Qatar Airlines ‘Unfairly’ Included in USA Electronics Ban" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, Mar 28, 2017.

Qatar Airways (CEO) Akbar Al Baker has criticized the USA ban on large personal electronic items, saying it is unfair and not properly thought through. The USA Emergency Directive was issued in the early hours of March 21, banning electrical items larger than a mobile phone from the cabin on non stop flights to the USA from 10 airports, including Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A few hours after the US ban was implemented, the UK followed suit with a similar order covering 6 countries, but the UK rules do not apply to flights out of the (UAE) or Qatar.

“We have very robust security systems at our airports. This is why the UK did not include us. I have very high regard for the intelligence community in the UK and, if they are not including us, it means we were unfairly included by the USA government,” Al Baker said, speaking to Sky News. Al Baker went on to say that the rules were not properly thought through and “detrimental to the traveling public,” because the security services have now alerted potential terrorists to what they are looking for.

* "Qatar Airways Offers Laptop Loan Service to USA-bound Passengers" By (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 30 2016.

Qatar Airways (QTA) will offer business (C)-class passengers complimentary laptop computers to use on USA-bound flights starting in April.

The “laptop loan service,” as the Doha-based carrier is calling it, is the latest attempt by 1 of the 3 Gulf majors: (QTA); Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD), to find a work-around solution to the "large carry-on electronics" ban imposed by the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on non-stop flights to the USA from 10 airports, including Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.

(QTA)’s business (C) class passengers will be able to collect the complimentary laptops after boarding USA-bound flights. Prior to boarding, (C)-class passengers will be able to download their work from their personal laptop computers to (USB) drives, which they can then use to download needed documents on to the laptop the airline makes available. Similar to (EAD), (QTA) is offering a special handling service at gates in which “any electronic items prohibited by the new ban will be collected and securely packaged [and] tagged, loaded as check-in baggage and returned safely to the customer on arrival into the USA,” (QTA) said.

(QTA) additionally will make Wi-Fi available to all USA-bound passengers for free for 1 hour and is offering a $5 package that will let passengers have Wi-Fi for the duration of their USA-bound flight.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said (QTA)’s response to the electronics ban will enable a “business as usual” solution for passengers. “By providing this laptop loan service, we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the USA can continue to work whilst on board,” he said.

Etihad (EHD) is making iPads available for USA-bound premium passengers, and offering free Wi-Fi for all first (F)- and business (C)-class passengers on USA-bound flights, starting April 2.

See photo - "QTA-2017-03 - Laptop Loan Offer.jpg."

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said he plans to establish a 100%-owned domestic airline in India as soon as possible. Speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of Qatar Airways (QTA)’s new business (C)-class seat at the tourism fair (ITB) Berlin on March 8, Al Baker said (QTA) will be the 1st foreign carrier to try to make an investment in India. “We will target up to 100 airplanes if possible,” he said.

777F delivery.

April 2017: News Item A-1: Oneworld (ONW) Alliance members Iberia (IBE) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have begun code share flights offering passengers more flight options to/from Doha and Spain and Portugal.

According to the agreement, (ibe), the Spanish flag carrier is marketing the 2 daily flights operated by Doha-based (QTA) between Madrid and Doha under its IB designator code. Qatar Airways (QTA)’s QR code has been added to (IBE) flights from Madrid to 28 destinations in Spain and Portugal.

Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said code share partnerships and airline alliances “continue to play an important role for (QTA). In linking (IBE)'s extensive network across Spain and Portugal with Qatar (QTA)’s global network of >150 destinations, passengers will benefit from seamless connectivity and the growing strength of the (ONW) global network.”

News Item A-2: "Qatar Airways Sees 'Manageable' Decline in Flights to USA" by Aya Batrawy, AP, April 24, 2017.

Akbar Al Baker Qatar Airways (QTA) said on April 24th that passenger numbers to the USA have dipped slightly over fears by some Muslim passengers that their visas may be rejected upon arrival, but expressed confidence in President Donald Trump as a "very good businessman."

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar al-Baker said uncertainty about travel to the USA is "affecting the business, but to a very small extent." "We didn't have massive decline like other carriers so we still have robust loads to the USA and we will continue our commitment to our passengers in the USA," al-Baker said.

Emirates (EAD), the Middle East's largest airline, slashed its flights to the USA by 20% last week.

Dubai, where (EAD) is based, and Doha, (QTA)' main hub, were among the 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by a ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard USA-bound flights. "(QTA) does not plan and will not reduce frequencies to in the USA," he said. "I am sure that these uncertainties that passengers have soon could be resolved by statements from the USA government."

Al-Baker also expressed hope that Trump would resist pressure from American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) to block aggressive expansion into the USA market by Gulf-based carriers. "I have repeatedly mentioned that President Donald Trump is a very wise individual and a very good businessman, and I don't think that he will buy into bullying by the 3 American carriers," he said.

Speaking to reporters at the Arabian Travel Market convention in Dubai, al-Baker said (QTA) is planning to launch a new route to Las Vegas possibly as early as next year. (QTA) currently flies to more than a dozen USA cities. He said (QTA) has plans to expand to 26 new global destinations, adding: "The USA is not the entire world."

May 2017: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced a 3rd daily non-stop rotation from Doha to Bali Denpasar from May 7 operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

A350-941 (69, A7-ALP) and A380-861 (197, A7-APH) deliveries.

June 2017: News Item A-1: "Qatar Airways (CEO) Al Baker asks (ICAO) to Step In" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, June 14, 2017.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker has called on (ICAO) to step in to the diplomatic rift between Qatar and the Gulf states that have closed their airspace to Qatar Airways (QTA).

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt this month cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, cutting off all flights from Qatar and disallowing (QTA) from using their airspace. The move not only halted air traffic between Qatar and the 4 Gulf states, but also is forcing (QTA) to fly longer distances on some long-haul routes to avoid those countries’ airspace. “This blockade is unprecedented and it is in direct contradiction to the convention that guarantees rights to civil overflight,” Al Baker said on June 14. “We call upon the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to declare this an illegal act. We are not a political body, we are an airline, and this blockade has stripped us of the rights which are guaranteed to us.”
Nevertheless, Al Baker said it is “business as usual” for state-owned (QTA) “with the vast majority of flights operating as scheduled.”

In the last week, while the restrictions have been in place, (QTA) has operated 1,200 flights between Doha and >150 destinations “with 90% of those flights departing within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time.” The airline has said it will focus on expansion to other parts of the world. This week it launched Doha - Dublin service, and it will start flights between Doha and Nice, France July 4. Doha - Skopje, Macedonia flights are scheduled to commence July 17.

Qatar Airways (QTA) is not shying away from its usual strong presence at the Paris Air Show, where next week its new “QSuite” business-class offering will be showcased.

News Item A-2: "(UN) Aviation Agency Brokers Crisis Talks on Qatar Flight Blockade" by Deena Kamel, Krystal Chia, Bloomberg News, June 15, 2017.

A United Nations (UN) agency will broker a meeting between Qatari aviation officials and counterparts from Arab countries, as the tiny Gulf nation tries to regain air rights and mitigate the economic fallout of the crisis.

Senior envoys from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the (UAE) and Bahrain will gather at the International Civil Aviation Organization this month to continue diplomatic discussions about the flight embargo, the (UN) agency said by email. (ICAO) has been reviewing requests from Qatar to ease a ban that its government deems illegal.

Qatar's neighbors severed diplomatic and transport links to punish it for allegedly backing Islamic militants, a charge the Gulf nation denies. The resulting isolation has forced the world's richest country by capita to open new trade routes to import food and other essentials, and added hours to flight times as pilots (FC) circumvent its neighbors' airspace.

(QTA) Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker called on (ICAO) to declare the blockade illegal, saying on June 14 it is "in direct contradiction to the convention that guarantees rights to civil overflight."

While the region's 2nd-biggest airline maintains that operations to and from its Doha hub are running smoothly and (QTA) will continue expanding its network as planned, Al Baker told Al Jazeera he's concerned the carrier "will under-perform" as the political standoff casts "some dark clouds."

Since Qatar Airways (QTA) can no longer serve 18 destinations in the region due to the ban, it will steer unused capacity to new locations, Al Baker told the Qatari news network. That will help (QTA) continue its expansion and allow it to earn a "good profit" next year after boosting earnings by +22% in the fiscal year ending March 2017.

The ban imposed by the 4 Arab countries will also affect their national carriers, including the world's biggest long-haul airline Emirates (EAD), and erode confidence in the region's air connectivity, Al Baker said.

(ICAO) is working to "bring these states together towards a solution which satisfies both their current regional concerns and the global needs and expectations of passengers and shippers."

News Item A-3: Inmarsat was selected by Qatar Airways (QTA) to provide its (GX) Aviation in-flight broadband solution for installation on >130 Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s starting in mid-2017.

News Item A-4: British Airways (BA) is preparing for the longest strike yet in its dispute with some of its cabin crew (CA) as members of (BAB)’s London-based “mixed fleet” group of flight attendants (CA) are planning to stop work from July 1 to 16.

The initial reason for the long-running dispute, salary levels, has actually largely been settled, according to the Unite union, which represents the striking staff. “The issue is now largely around sanctions that have been meted out to the people who went on strike,” Unite spokesperson Alex Flynn said.

These sanctions included withdrawal of travel concessions and other benefits, he said. “We had put forward a compromise, but that was refused,” he added. As a result, Unite now plans to take 1,400 cases of affected personnel to the UK’s employment tribunal system, which arbitrates between employers and staff in such disputes.

(BAB) said June 27 that, as in previous disputes involving the cabin crew (CA), it would ensure that all passengers got to their destinations, either on (BAB) flights or on those of one of their partner airlines. Customers on “a very small number” of London Heathrow flights could find their long-haul flights being merged, said an airline spokesperson.

As during previous strikes, (BAB) will be wet leasing capacity to help it cope with the disruption. Whereas in previous strikes this capacity has come from UK or European carriers, (BAB) is this time considering leasing Airbus A320s and A321s from Qatar Airways (QTA).

This has triggered another protest from Unite. Pointing to what it described as (QTA)’s “inferior flight duty time limitations and rest requirements,” the union said that it had “warned that unless these had been ‘transitioned’ to meet (EU) requirements,” the wet lease would not be compliant.

Additionally, it said, it had warned “that if a bilateral international agreement between the (EU) and Qatar covering wet leasing does not exist, then approval for the lease would not comply and should be automatically refused.” The union said it had written to UK regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the matter.

A (BAB) spokesperson said: “As you might expect, we’ve not specified these planes. We’re looking at all options available to ensure our customers travel as planned.”

Qatar Airways (QTA), like (BAB), is a Oneworld (ONW) alliance member and (QTA) is the largest single shareholder in (BAB)’s parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG), with a 20.01% stake.

(QTA) also has aircraft sitting idle at present, due to its major diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt.

On June 27, the (CAA) said: “We are currently processing an application from British Airways (BAB) to wet lease 9 Qatar-registered aircraft. Under European regulations specific approval is required for an (EU) airline, such as British Airways (BAB), to wet lease aircraft from an airline based outside of Europe. The UK Department for Transport will approve or reject the application taking into account advice from the (CAA). We can confirm we have so far received a number of comments on the application, which will be taken into consideration.”

News Item A-5: Qatar Airways (QTA) introduces QSuite business (C) class at the Paris Air Show.

See photos: "QTA-2017-06 - QSuite -A/B/C/D."

The seats convert into lie-flat beds with new bed linen and pillows, plus pajamas for passengers. The 1st airplane on which the new cabin has been installed was a Boeing 777-300ER, appropriately registered (A7-BED).

Removal of partitions between 2 adjoining seats allows couples to have a twin-bed arrangement for overnight flights. The seats are by B/E Aerospace, which was taken over earlier this year by Rockwell Collins.

In the center twin seat section of the cabin, a partition can be retracted to allow 2 companions to converse easily.

A major innovation in the new business (C) class cabin is the ability to remove partitions and slide away (IFE) screens to create a "club four" configuration that allows a party of passengers to socialize in-flight. (QTA) is introducing a "platter service" of food to complement this arrangement.

July 2017: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced 2 new destinations, even as the airspace blockade on its territory by neighboring nations was restated July 5.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the (UAE), meeting in Cairo, said restrictions on (QTA) would continue after they said the Gulf nation had rejected demands that included ceasing support for extremist Islamist elements and curtailing both its Al Jazeera broadcasting network and its conciliatory attitude toward Iran.

The 4 nations announced last month they were halting all air and land movements between them and Qatar and closing their airspace to services to and from Qatar. The move has caused Qatar Airways (QTA) operational problems, in that flights to and from Doha now have to head east over the Gulf before turning over Iran to head NW to Europe or SE to Asia.

However, in what the surrounding nations may take as a sign of defiance, (QTA) said it was expediting the launch of 2 new destinations (to Prague, in the Czech Republic and to Sohar, in neighboring Oman, by the end of August 2017).

It added that several more announcements of new destinations would “follow shortly.”

Prague will gain a daily service from August 21, while Sohar will be served 3x-weekly from August 8. Both services will be operated by Airbus A320s in 144-seat, 2-class configurations including 12 business-class (C) seats.

Qatar Airways (QTA) began a service to Nice, France, July 4 and plans to start services to Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, July 17.

“Qatar Airways’ announcement today comes at a time when we are accelerating our global expansion plans by expediting the launch of these 2 new destinations,” Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said.

Other new destinations planned for the remainder of this year and 2018 include Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco, USA; and Santiago, Chile. A total of 25 new destination launches will take place throughout 2017 - 2018.

News Item A-2: "Dubai Removed from Laptop Ban List; Doha, Saudi Airports Could Follow" by (ATW) Aaron Karp and Kurt Hofmann, July 5, 2017.

Dubai has joined Istanbul Ataturk and Abu Dhabi airports in being removed from the list of airports with large personal electronic device (PED) restrictions for USA-bound passengers, according to Emirates Airline (EAD).

“Effective immediately, laptops and electronic devices can be taken on board all (EAD) flights from Dubai to the USA,” (EAD) said.

Responding to an inquiry, a USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson included Doha among airports (TSA) is inspecting July 5 regarding lifting the laptop ban, indicating it could also be taken off the list soon. Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia (SVA) said it expects Riyadh and Jeddah to be taken off the so-called laptop ban list on or before July 19.

The requirement that passengers bound for the USA check (rather than carry on) (PED)s larger than a smartphone has been in place at 10 airports since March. But after the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new security requirements for all USA-bound flights on June 28, it gave the airports on the laptop ban list the opportunity to be removed from the list if they complied with the new security standards.

So far, (DHS) and (TSA) have officially confirmed Abu Dhabi has been taken off the list. Istanbul Ataturk and Dubai have also been removed from the list, according to Turkish Airlines (THY) and Emirates (EAD), respectively.

A (TSA) spokesperson said, “(THY),(QTA) and (EAD) have initiated the process for lifting the personal electronics device (PED) ban by alerting (TSA) they are ready to comply with the enhanced security measures. (TSA) was scheduled to visit July 5 to verify the measures have been implemented correctly and to the full extent required.”

The spokesperson declined to elaborate when asked for further clarification about the timing of lifting the ban at the airports being inspected.

Saudia (SVA), meanwhile, said it is working in with Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to implement the new (DHS) requirements for all USA-bound flights. On or before July 19, (SVA), the SkyTeam (STM) Alliance member expected that passengers on its flights to the USA would be permitted to take large (PED)s into aircraft cabins.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) and Turkish Airlines (THY) announced June 6 that passengers can once more carry on board their laptops after USA authorities approved new security arrangements at Doha’s Hamad International Airport and Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.

(QTA) and (THY) were among airlines affected by the ban the USA imposed on 10 countries in March prohibiting personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than mobile phone to be brought as carry-on luggage on flights to the USA.

The ban was said by the USA government to be in response to renewed, but unspecific efforts by terrorists to bring down airliners using new forms of explosives that could be hidden in (PED)s.

On June 28, however, the USA issued new, broader security screening requirements all international flights to the USA and said the laptop ban would be lifted if airports in affected countries could demonstrate they had complied with the new security measures.

(QTA) said that “with immediate effect, all (PED)s can be carried on board all departures from Hamad International Airport, Doha, to destinations in the USA. “(QTA) and Hamad International Airport have met with all requirements of the USA Department of Homeland Security’s new security guidelines and we would like to express our thanks to the USA and local authorities for their support during this process.”

A similar announcement came from (THY): “The electronic ban concerning electronic devices that was implemented on USA arrival flights since March 25 has ended on July 5. (THY) passengers traveling to New York (JFK) from &#304;stanbul Atatürk Airport carried their (PED)s on the 6:45 am flight number TK-3.”

Some idea of the scale of the headache caused by the ban came in comments from (THY)’s Chairman &#304;lker Ayc&#305;: ‘‘During 102 days, 81,736 (PED)s were carefully collected from our passengers at gates by our staff and carried in overprotected baggage on 1,087 flights to the USA. “75% of (PED)s were laptops and tablets, 25% consisted of cameras, (GPS) devices and Kindles.”

(QTA) and (THY) join Etihad Airways (EHD) and Emirates Airlines (EAD), whose home bases of Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai International Airport have already been freed from the carry-on (PED) restrictions. Saudia (SVA) is expected to follow suit later in July.

July 2017: News Item A-4: "Etihad Said American Code Share Decision is ‘Anti-competitive" by Karen Walker, July 14, 2017.

Etihad Airways (EHD) said it is “disappointed” by American Airlines (AAL)’s decision to terminate its code share relationship and views it as “anti-competitive and anti-consumer.”

(AAL) announced July 12 that it notified (EHD) and fellow Oneworld (ONE) alliance member Qatar Airways (QTA) at the end of June that the code share arrangements with each carrier would end in March 2018. (AAL) said its decision was made as a protest against what it alleges to be government subsidies of the major Gulf carriers.

Responding to the announcement, an (EHD) spokesperson said its code share, begun in 2009, has been “mutually beneficial” and provided passengers flying to and from the USA with more and better flight options to points in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and other destinations that historically have not been served by USA airlines.

“We view the decision by (AAL) as being anti-competitive and anti-consumer. This action will reduce choices for consumers and may result in higher fares for travelers to and from the USA.”

“We are committed to the US market and American consumers, and are taking all possible measures to ensure that the flying public is not harmed by this decision. We will continue our interline relationship with (AAL) to help ensure continued connectivity to secondary markets. We are committed to working with all airlines, including all USA carriers, to offer passengers more competition, more destinations, and an overall better flying experience.

(EHD) added that its 6 daily flights to the USA “in no way threaten (AAL), which together with its regional partner American Eagle, operates 6,700 flights daily to 350 destinations in 50 countries.”

News Item A-5: Pilot representatives from the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have voiced concerns about British Airways’ (BAB) use of aircraft and crews from Qatar Airways to fill gaps in (BAB)’s schedule caused by a long-running industrial dispute at (BAB), the UK national carrier.

Since late 2016, (BAB) has been embroiled with some of its cabin crew (CA) in a row over pay and, recently, allegations of sanctions against strikers.

The latest bout of strike action by members of the Unite union is scheduled to last for nearly the entire month of July.

Throughout the dispute, (BAB) has kept the great bulk of its schedule operating, but in recent weeks has brought in 9 Airbus A320s from fellow Oneworld (ONW) alliance operator Qatar Airways (QTA) to keep its timetable running.

(QTA) is understood to have spare capacity following its diplomatic rupture with several neighboring states, which has led to destinations in those states being barred to (QTA).

(ECA), which represents pilots (FC) from throughout the continent, said the lease of the Qatari aircraft “is being used by British Airways (BAB) in order to undermine the lawful collective action of a group of (BAB) flight attendants (CA) who are trying to improve their wages and working conditions. It is important to understand what is happening here,” (ECA) President Dirk Polloczek said.

“Under the arrangement, the (QTA) crew will be employed under Qatar law and under Qatar employment contracts. There was no meaningful examination of the effect of the lease of the non-European Union (EU) aircraft and crew on the ability of (BAB)’s flight attendants (CA) to exercise their lawful collective rights or on their employment conditions. (QTA) receives massive state subsidies from its government,” he said.

“It is essential that the [European] Commission (EC) and the UK government assess the consistency of the lease with (EU) and UK laws and consider the effect of the lease on the employment rights of (EU) workers now and in the current legislative process dealing with this issue,” Polloczek said.

* (ALPA) supported the (ECA) stance.

“This lease is completely inconsistent with the notion that government action should not benefit one party to a labor dispute,” (ALPA) said.

“If a USA airline attempted to do the same, it would be denied, as USA regulations require that an analysis be conducted to determine if the leasing of foreign aircraft by a USA airline would give an advantage to a party in a labor dispute,” it said.

“(ALPA) opposes the use in the USA market of any non-(EU) leased aircraft by an (EU) airline in order to undermine legal collective bargaining. We urge the (EU) and the United Kingdom to harmonize upward their leasing rules and require an analysis similar to that made by the USA.”

On June 30, the UK regulator, the (CAA), said (BAB)’s request to temporarily wet-lease the Qatar-registered aircraft had been approved by the UK Department for Transport.

“The decision to approve the application took into account the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]. Under European regulations, specific approval is required for an (EU) airline to wet-lease aircraft from an airline based outside of Europe. The application was judged to meet all legal and regulatory requirements,” the (CAA) said

News Item A-6: "A350-900 Jet Order Scrapped"

Qatar Airways (QTA) has scrapped orders for 4 A350-900 jets after deliveries were delayed by supplier issues. (QTA) is the biggest buyer of the A350, with 80 orders before the cancellations, as well as the launch customer having taken its 1st aircraft in December 2014.

(QTA)'s A350 contract included a clause allowing it to scrap handovers that are delayed beyond a certain point, Airbus (EDS) said, adding that the aircraft will be reallocated to other customers.

August 2017: News Item A-1: Qatar, embroiled in a diplomatic stand-off with 4 Middle East nations that have seen severe restrictions on its access to neighboring airspace, has waived entry visa requirements for 80 nations.

The air blockade was not directly referenced in the announcement of the move to ease visa requirements, but will be seen as the oil-rich Gulf state attempting to head off any reductions in passenger numbers for Qatar Airways (QTA) from potential customers uncertain about whether to travel on (QTA).

It will also be seen by the 4 countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the (UAE), that accuse Qatar of aiding Islamist extremists and undermining their governments, as a further sign of defiance. Qatar denies the charges against it.

The visa announcement was made jointly by (QTA)’s (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, together with senior officials of the Qatar Tourist Authority and Qatar’s interior Ministry.

Under the new move, passport holders of 80 nations who wish to visit Qatar will no longer need, or pay for, a visa; instead, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.

Of the 80 countries, passport-holders of 33 (mainly European) will be able to receive a visa valid for 180 days that allows them to spend up to 90 days in the state on a multi-entry basis. The other 47 nations will have a 30-day validity visa, with the possibility of extending it for a further 30 days.

Qatar is already considering further enhancements to its visa policy, including a waiver for holders of visa/resident permit for Gulf Cooperation Council and European Union (EU) countries in the visa-free Schengen zone, as well as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Like several Gulf states, Qatar is attempting to enhance its attractiveness as a destination in its own right, rather than merely be considered as a transit point for onward travel. (QTA) said that increased marketing and the introduction of a 96-hour transit visa have resulted in a +39% increase in the number of stopover visitors during the 1st 6 months of 2017, compared with the same period last year.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced a daily operation from its Doha (DOH) hub to Prague (PRG) on August 21. The 4,216 km city pair will become (QTA)’s 13th destination in Central and Eastern Europe.

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker commented on the launch of flights to Prague by saying: “We are delighted to launch daily service to Prague, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network.”

Also speaking at the route launch, Vaclav Rehor, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prague Airport, added: “The proposed schedule, at 2 different times of operations, will support connections within (QTA)’s network via Doha to Asian and Australian routes. We expect that passengers coming from Prague will be most interested in the connecting flights to Bali, Bangkok, Colombo, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Delhi and Sydney.” The route, which witnesses no direct competition for (QTA, will see (QTA) compete against fellow (MEB3) carrier Emirates (EAD), which offers a daily flight too. However, its operation uses a 517-seat A380, whereas (QTA) will use its A320 fleet on the city pair.

The next route launch for Qatar Airways (QTA) from Doha will take place on August 28, the day in which (QTA) will start serving Kiev Boryspil. (QTA) introduced Kiev Boryspil (KBP) to its network, launching on August 28 a daily A320-operated service from Doha (DOH). (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, said of the new route: “We are delighted to launch direct service to Kiev, a much-anticipated addition to our global network. This new route will connect businesses in Kiev and across Ukraine to new business partners from around the globe, while also appealing to leisure travelers, offering them the opportunity to experience this charming city. Kiev is just one of several new European destinations launched by (QTA) this summer, including Prague and Skopje, opening new gateways across Eastern Europe and linking these cities to our extensive global network of >150 destinations.”

The 3,302 km route to the Ukrainian capital will not face any direct competition. As stated, (QTA) has recently introduced Prague and Skopje to its network in Eastern Europe. Its next launch to the region is scheduled to take place on October 31, the day on which (QTA) the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member will begin serving Sarajevo.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin 4x-weekly seasonal Doha - Chiang Mai service from December 2017 to May 2018.

News Item A-4: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced that its (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, is to become Chairman of industry body (IATA) (ITA) from June 2018.

Al Baker will succeed Singapore Airlines (CEO) Goh Choon Phong in the elected role, which carries a one-year rotating term, after (IATA)'s 2018 (AGM) in Sydney. "I look forward to working alongside the board of governors to champion passenger rights and improve security standards across the industry, as well as continuing to promote the rights of freedom of flight for all," Al Baker said.

Over the last 20 years, Al Baker has turned (QTA) from a small regional carrier into a major airline with a fleet >200 airplanes.
However, he is an outspoken leader who has repeatedly spoken out against the (IATA).

In an open forum at the 2011 (IATA) (AGM) in Singapore (the final (AGM) for outgoing (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani) Al Baker harshly and publicly criticized (IATA) for a lack of transparency, elitism, its high cost base and organizational structures.

On the sidelines of the 2016 (AGM), he also spoke negatively about the selection of Alexandre de Juniac as (IATA) (DG) & (CEO). This could cause tensions, as the 2 executives will have to work closely together with Al Baker's appointment as Chairman.

(IATA) now represents 275 airlines, which collectively handle 83% of global air traffic.

News Item A-5: Qatar Airways (QTA) has begun installing Inmarsat’s GX Aviation connectivity on its Boeing 777 fleet after receiving European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for the equipment. For the (QTA) fleet to be connected, (EASA) had to 1st grant supplemental type certification (STC) for (GX) Aviation on the 777. The (STC) is usually sought by the maintenance organization performing the work, but this time Inmarsat sought and managed the process.

News Item A-6: Qatar Airways (QTA) will take delivery of its 1st Airbus A350-1000 by the end of 2017, (QTA)’s (CEO) confirmed August 9.

(QTA) is the launch customer for the A350 and has been frustrated with delivery delays of the smaller A350-900 model. Earlier this year, (QTA) walked away from 4 of its planned 43 A350-900s, citing delivery delays.

Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker has complained that holdups in deliveries of both the A350 and the re-engined A320neo are hampering (QTA)’s expansion plans.

Speaking at a press conference in Doha August 9, Al Baker said (QTA) had been reassured by Airbus (EDS) that the 1st A350-1000 would be in the Gulf in 2017: “It is now in the certification process and (EDS) has assured us that we will receive it late, but we will receive it before the end of the year.” (QTA) plans to use the A350-1000 on routes to Asia, Europe and the USA.

During the press conference, Al Baker also said (QTA) was studying the viability of a “very short” air corridor that had been offered this week by some of the 4 nations (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the (UAE)) that have closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft as part of economic sanctions against the oil-rich nation. The neighboring countries have accused Qatar of supporting Islamic extremists and of attacking them via the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television station.

“Qatar Airways (QTA) is studying the operational flexibility and benefits to fly through this route. We are evaluating and studying it (it’s only been 2 days),” Al Baker said. A (QTA) spokeswoman said she had no details of the corridor.

Later on August 9, however, the (UAE)’s aviation regulator said it had not given permission for Qatari aircraft to resume flights over its territory: “The General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) denies allowing aircraft registered in the State of Qatar to cross the sovereign airspace of the state (those aircraft are only allowed to use the airspace managed by the (UAE) above international waters).”

September 2017: Qatar Airways (QTA) has confirmed the placement of an order with Boeing (TBC) for 2 747-8Fs and 4 777-300ERs.

The announcement was made during the delivery ceremony for (QTA)'s 1st 747-8F (63199, A7-BGB). As the world's 3rd-largest cargo operator, (QTA) continues to invest in fleet expansion.

November 2017: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced it is taking an almost 10% stake in Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT).

The agreement, which (QTA) said it expects to complete November 6, means (QTA) will hold a 9.6% stake in (CAT) at a value of about $600 million.

(CAT) and (QTA) are both members of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance.

(QTA) already has a 20% stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB), another Oneworld (ONW) alliance member, as well as a 10% stake in Santiago-based (LATAM) Airlines Group (LAN), and a 49% investment in Italy's Meridiana (ALS).

(QTA) backed off from a move in June to take a 10% stake in American Airlines (AAL), also in (ONW), after (AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker sharply rebuked the bid as “puzzling at best; concerning at worst.” (AAL) is campaigning with Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL to constrain growth of the major Gulf carriers: Qatar, Emirates Airlines (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) over claims that they are heavily subsidized by their government owners.

Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said on November 6 that Cathay (CAT) was “one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry and with massive potential for the future.”

(CAT) (CEO) Rupert Hogg said that the 2 airlines already work closely together as (ONW) members "and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship."

In August, (CAT) posted a net loss of -HKD2.1 billion/-$268.2 million for the 1st half of 2017, a reversal from a HKD353 million net profit in the same period last year. (CAT) faces increasing competition in many of its markets, particularly from mainland China’s major airlines. (CAT)’s major shareholders are Swire Pacific, which holds 35%, and Air China (BEJ), which holds almost 30%.

News Item A-2: "Clark Sees Potential for 200 A380s at New Dubai Airport" by Kurt Hofmann November 3, 2017.

The new Dubai World Central Airport (DWC) would allow Emirates Airline (EAD) to operate 200 Airbus A380s (2x- as many as it has today, (EAd)’s President said. Speaking in Hamburg on the side lines of ceremonies for the delivery of (EAD)’s 100th A380, Tim Clark said the new airport will have 100 gates capable of handling very large airplanes (VLA) like the A380 and Boeing 747-8i, which would “easily” facilitate the operation of 200 A380s.

(DWC) is being built in phases, with completion not expected before 2023. (EAD), meanwhile, still has +42 more A380s on order beyond the 100 it now has in its fleet. In theory, therefore, (EAD) could be looking to order at least another 50 A380s if it wanted to fully utilize those (VLA) gates at (DWC).

But (EAD) has been pushing for a re-engined, more fuel efficient version of the A380neo which Airbus (EDS) has so far been reluctant to launch because it cannot secure enough customers. In June, Airbus unveiled a development study for a so-called A380plus package, which would include new winglets and refinements to the wing’s aerodynamics to improve fuel-burn by +4%, and potentially have more than >80 additional seats. The proposal falls short of a re-engined aircraft, but Clark said at the Paris Air Show in June that he might be interested in the A380plus if more airlines signed up, so the aircraft’s future was assured.

Speaking at the Hamburg event, Airbus (CEO) Tom Enders said there was still “huge potential” for A380 upgrades.

The 3 major Gulf carriers (EAD) Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA)) all operate the A380 and have used them to facilitate rapid growth. But 2017 has been a tough year for the Middle East airlines, with lower oil prices spurring greater competition, political upheavals in the region that include the Qatar blockade by its neighboring countries, and the effects of USA travel bans and extra security rules that particularly affected Muslim countries. The airlines cut back on some services to the USA because of reduced demand.

But Clark said in Hamburg on November 3 that business was much improved. Fuel prices have risen a little and demand was returning on USA routes, he said. “Green shoots are coming up in all those areas where we had struggling a little bit,” he said.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) is converting its wide body fleet to its new "Qsuite" business class configuration (previewed at the (ITB) exhibition in Berlin earlier this year and shown on board an aircraft for the first time in June at the Paris Air Show) and will have completed the process by the end of 2018. The Boeing 777 fleet is being converted 1st, followed by the 787 and the Airbus A350, although it is not yet clear which of the latter 2 types will receive the new installation.

December 2017: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) will launch Qsuite Boeing 777 business (C) class service to New York (JFK) on December 16, 2017 and Washington Dulles on January 16, 2018.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced its 1st flight from Doha (DOH) to St Petersburg (LED) on December 19, becoming (QTA)’s 2nd gateway in Russia after Moscow Domodedovo. Inaugural flight QR279 was operated by 1 of (QTA)’s 787-8s, but the route will be flown on a regular basis by its 132-seat A320 fleet. The launch of this daily direct service to Russia’s cultural capital will increase (QTA)’s number of weekly flights into the country to 28. Already operating to Moscow since 2003, (QTA) recently increased its service to the city from 2x-daily to 3x-daily.

Qatar Airways (QTA) began 4x-weekly Doha to Chiang Mai Airbus A330-200 service.

News Item A-3: "Editorial: Gulf "Open Skies" Decision is Right Call" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog December 15, 2017.

Despite a renewed campaign against the hub Gulf carriers, the 3 USA major airlines ended the year with essentially nothing gained. The USA will not reopen negotiations on its Open Skies agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar, nor freeze the traffic rights of Gulf airlines to the USA under those aviation treaties. Those were the core requests of the USA majors, and while talks will continue on Open Skies compliance, the fundamentals remain in place.

This was the right call. American (AAL), Delta (DAL), United (UAL) and USA airline labor groups have joined forces in what has become an increasingly shrill and at times low-ball attack on Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA), even attacking the (CEO) of 1 of those airlines when he was honored with an industry award.

What they failed to do was demonstrate that the Gulf carriers have materially harmed the businesses of the USA carriers, which have generated more than half of world airlines’ profits in the past 3 years and are forecast to again produce the strongest financial performance in 2018 with an expected net profit of +$16.4 billion.

Indeed, the only harm that the USA majors suffer is self-inflicted. (AAL) intends to end its code shares with 2 of the Gulf carriers in 2018 (1 of them, (QTA), a Oneworld (ONW) alliance partner. That will hurt revenues on all sides and reduce service choices for (AAL)’s customers. It’s also hypocritical. (AAL) has deep partnerships with airlines such as British Airways (BAB), where (QTA) has a 20% stake in (BAB)’s parent company, (LATAM) (LAN)/(TPR), in which (QTA) has a 10% stake, and Qantas (QAN), which has a joint venture with (EAD). So (AAL) will continue to benefit indirectly from the Gulf carriers through its closest airline partners.

The truest fact of the modern airline industry is that it is a network. Neither the smallest nor the largest carrier can stand alone. Airlines seek out alliances, joint ventures, code shares and liberalized aviation agreements so they can deliver global connectivity. These arrangements, unique to aviation, are the patches the industry applies to work around ownership and cabotage rules that protect home markets. The USA has some of the most draconian airline protectionist rules, while Europe now has some of the most liberal.

But what the USA did gift to the world of commercial aviation was Open Skies; a concept that has spread globally and which has allowed airlines to grow and be more creative, while giving passengers choices in their international travel plans.

The greatest threat in what the USA majors might have achieved with their anti-Gulf carrier campaign was a “two-tier” Open Skies system in which some arrangements were less “open” than others. It would have raised the question: when will restrictions be sought on other Open Skies agreements so the USA majors can return to an international market that more closely reflects the consolidated US market, with its single-carrier dominance in hub cities?

The Open Skies system is safeguarded, at least for now, and the USA majors on a healthy financial footing to compete well and prosper. That’s a New Year resolution worth pursuing in 2018.

News Item A-4: Qatar Airways (QTA) has decided to equip its incoming fleet of Airbus A321neos with (CFM) International (Leap-1A) engines, dropping an earlier commitment for the competing Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1100G) engine. The order for 50 units of the largest A320neo-family member replaces an earlier order for the same number of A320neo family jets. The aircraft in the original order (34 A320neos and 16 A321neos) were to be powered by (PRW)’s geared turbofan (GTF) engine.

News Item A-5: See video:
"Qatar Airways 747-8 VIP (VQ-BSK) Takeoff at Hamburg 2017-12.jpg."

January 2018: "The Open Skies ‘Big Deal’ That Isn’t" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog January 30, 2018.

American (AAL), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) still have little to show for the millions of dollars they’ve spent on publicity campaigns and legal work aimed at curtailing the growth of Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA).

While the USA airline (CEO)s and (ALPA) have issued press statements akin to victory claims, the reality is that the new USA - Qatar “understandings on civil aviation” pact, announced this month by USA Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, changes nothing about the "Open Skies" agreement between the 2 countries or Qatar Airways (QTA)’s operations to the USA.

To summarize, in return for not renegotiating the "Open Skies" deal, the Qatari government has agreed that (QTA) will release an audited financial statement within a year and assured Washington that the Doha-based airline has “no current plans” to operate 5th freedom flights to the USA.

How useful that audited statement will be to the USA carriers is anybody’s guess, but there seems to be a wide margin for interpretation of how to deliver that concession. And (QTA) does not operate 5th freedom flights to the USA (although it could do so under the "Open Skies" agreement, if it wished), so nothing changes there and the Qatari government’s assurance on this is even vaguer than the financial transparency pledge.

Tillerson’s statement was also cloaked in diplomatic assurances, emphasizing that Qatar was “a strong partner and a longtime friend of the USA,” with whom the USA is keen to deepen its strategic ties and cooperation in areas that include trade, security and counterterrorism.

The most important part of today’s statement, however, is what wasn’t mentioned: the (UAE), Emirates (EAD) and Etihad (EHD). The USA is apparently hopeful of reaching the same type of amicable handshake with the (UAE), which is unquestionably as important a strategic partner as Qatar. But the (UAE) is in a diplomatic standoff with Qatar, so there’s no reason to believe that where Qatar goes, so will the (UAE). Even more problematic, Emirates (EAD) (the world's largest international airline) does operate 5th freedom flights (via Italy and Greece) to the USA. Would a USA “civil aviation understanding” with the (UAE) require (EAD) to give those up?

Even if the (UAE) and (EAD) were to make such a concession, would they do so while still permitting USA cargo carriers to operate 5th freedom flights out of Dubai?

But let’s hypothesize that an agreement is forged with the (UAE) similar to Qatar’s. What, in reality, have (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) achieved for their money? The "Open Skies" agreements will remain intact (a good thing, in this editor’s view); the Gulf carriers will maintain their current direct schedules to the USA; and, if they wish and if slots are available, those airlines can continue to expand their USA destination networks.

Meanwhile, the consolidated USA majors will continue to control some 80% of the USA domestic market (into which foreign carriers, including the Gulf carriers, cannot venture because of USA cabotage laws) and will maintain their dominant, anti-trust protected positions in the transatlantic market with their European partners, Air France (AFA) - (KLM), British Airways (BAB), Lufthansa (DLH) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA).

3 years on, with millions of dollars and a lot of rhetoric spent, (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) seem to have achieved only 1 thing: securing the status quo.

February 2018: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced flights to Penang (PEN) on February 6, its 2nd destination in Malaysia, as it continues its robust expansion plans in SE Asia. The 3x-weekly service from its Doha (DOH) hub will be flown by (QTA)’s 254-seat 787-8 fleet.

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to launch direct flights to Penang, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network. Our Kuala Lumpur service started in 2001, and it has since grown to a 3x-daily direct non-stop service. The addition of Penang to our global network comes as part of our continued expansion plans in SE Asia, as we have recently launched direct services to Thailand’s Chiang Mai and Pattaya, as well as adding extra services to Krabi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.”

The Managing Director of Malaysia Airports, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, said: “With the current 3x-daily frequencies to Kuala Lumpur catering to the many passengers travelling to destinations in North America and Europe, we believe that the same demand for these destinations from Penang is growing rapidly. As 1 of the busiest airports in Malaysia, Penang recorded 7 million passenger movements last year.”

At a press conference held after the inaugural flight arrival, (QTA) (CCO) Ehab Amin announced the new route will be boosted to a 4x-weekly frequency from July 1. No other carriers operate this city and neither of (QTA)’s fellow (MEB3) carriers Emirates (EAD) nor Etihad Airways (EHD) flies to Penang either.

On February 11, (QTA) also added a daily 777-300 service from its home hub to Canberra (CBR), its 5th destination in Australia. The flights operate via Sydney, which as a result of this expansion now increases to a 2x-daily service. There is no competition on the 12,604 km sector to the Australian capital city, and it should be noted that (QTA) does not have permission to sell seats on the Sydney to Canberra leg.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin 4x-weekly Doha to Mykonos, Greece Airbus A320 seasonal flights from May 30.

News Item A-3: Airbus (EDS) has delivered the 1st production A350-1000 to launch customer Qatar Airways (QTA) on February 20.

The delivery was late by a few weeks (when the type was certified in November 2017, the 1st production aircraft was to be delivered by year-end. But integration of the Qsuite cabin in business (C) class for the 1st time on an Airbus proved more complex than planned).

Nevertheless, Qatar Airways (QTA) Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker expressed satisfaction about the execution of the revised installation schedule.

(QTA) will begin operating the new version on February 24 on the Doha to London route. The next destination will be the USA east coast. In (QTA)’s configuration, the A350-1000 will seat 326 passengers (+44
>A350-900s it already operates).

Airbus (EDS) said it designed the A350-1000 for those carriers wanting to increase capacity and maximize revenue on heavy-traffic routes. (EDS) suggests typical seating of 325 and 366, respectively, for the 2 versions. In particular, the larger A350-1000 offers an additional +10C business class seats, thanks to the arrangement of the emergency exits. The range is the same for the 2 variants, at 8,000 nm.

The A350-1000 features aerodynamic changes such as a wing twist, extended winglets and tweaked flaps and fairings for enhanced fuel efficiency. In the cockpit, an emergency automated descent system has been created to prevent an accident in case a rampant depressurization causes the pilots (FC) to faint. If the system detects simultaneously a cabin pressure drop and inaction from the flight crew (FC), it will start a fast descent to an altitude where the pilots (FC) will breathe normally.

A pair of Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent XWB)s power the A350-1000 and appear externally identical to the A350-900's engines, despite their greater thrust (97,000 lb instead of 84,000 lb).

Airbus (EDS) has received 169 firm orders for the A350-1000, from 11 customers. That number has decreased since the 1st flight in 2016, when it was standing at 195. But Airbus Commercial Aircraft President Fabrice Bregier, who was attending today his last event, believes many orders will be inked due to an upcoming replacement need for the Boeing 777-300ER.

The company does not give a precise objective for A350 production this year, but it is expected at around 90, as the monthly rate (measured at the entrance of the final assembly line) is targeted at 10 per month by year-end. About 15% of the total should be A350-1000s, Bregier said, including 6 for (QTA).

News Item A-4: "Al Baker: Qatar to Reveal New Economy Seat; Supports Supersonic Transport" by Kurt Hofmann, Thierry Dubois, (ATW) Daily News, February 23, 2018.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker is working on a new economy (Y) class product, which could be unveiled as early at 2019, likely at next year's (ITB) Berlin. (QTA) unveiled a new business (C) class seat at the 2017 (ITB) world tourism fair. "When you give the best product in business (C) class, then you should never forget economy (Y) class passengers, because that's the volume," (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said on board (QTA)'s delivery flight of its 1st Airbus A350-1000. He declined to give details on the new product, but said, "There is something [special] that we want to do. I promised the same with our [new business (C) class seat] Qsuite [at last year's show] and I surprised [the public] with the product. And we want to do the same again for economy (Y) class." He has no plans to install a premium economy (PY) product in its fleet.

In addition, Al Baker said he is keeping a close eye on supersonic transport projects as a hoped-for next step in luxury. "We are very interested in supersonic flights," he said. Likely referring to Boom Supersonic, a Denver-based company currently designing a 55-seat supersonic commercial aircraft, Al Baker said "(QTA) would not hesitate to be the launch customer."

Japan Airlines (JAL) has entered into a strategic partnership with Boom and has placed purchase options for up to 20 aircraft. But Boom still must identify an engine manufacturer, which Al Baker sees as a potential show stopper. (QTA) would be interested in "a small number" of supersonic airliners, he said.

Flying supersonic would be an additional offering in (QTA)'s range of high-end products.

In 2017, Virgin Atlantic took purchase options for 10 of Boom's Mach-2.2 airliner, followed by (JAL). Boom's partnership with (JAL) includes an investment of US$10 million in the project. Boom is targeting the mid-2020s for entry into service.

News Item A-5: One curious outcome of the years-long dispute over the USA - Qatar "Open Skies" agreement was that all sides described the result as a win.

Announcing what he termed as an “understanding on civil aviation,” USA Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stood alongside Qatari government representatives in Washington DC at the end of January and said USA President Donald Trump had “made this matter a priority and the outcome we achieved will ensure a level playing field in the global aviation market.”

The Qatari government committed that state-owned Qatar Airways (QTA) will release an audited financial statement within a year and will be more transparent regarding transactions, particularly transactions with other Qatar-owned entities. The Qatari government also made an assurance to the USA that there were “no current plans” for (QTA) to operate 5th freedom flights to the USA.

The accommodation between the USA and Qatar on aviation came after American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) spent nearly 3 years (and some $10 million) on investigations and lobbying campaigns to persuade the USA government to take action against what they allege are billions of dollars in illegal subsidies from Qatar to (QTA) and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD). The 3 Gulf carriers deny those subsidy allegations.

Importantly, however, the USA - Qatar "Open Skies" agreement stayed intact; it does not curtail (QTA)’s ability to expand its USA city destinations or frequencies, subject to slots being available. It does not remove the agreement’s 5th freedom rights; the pledge for (QTA) to not begin operating 5th freedom rights (in this case, essentially transatlantic flights via a European city) appears more to be a government-to-government “honor” handshake.

This is what gave all sides the room to applaud the President Trump administration and claim victory. (DAL) (CEO) Ed Bastian called it “a strong 1st step in a process for commercial transparency and accountability,” while (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz applauded the Trump administration “for effectively representing the interests of the American aviation industry.” On the other side of the dispute, New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBL) Executive VP Corporate Affairs & General Counsel James Hnat applauded the White House for its “definitive finding that "Open Skies" treaties have not been violated and won’t be revisited. The legacy carriers’ attack on "Open Skies" has officially failed, enabling USA airlines like (JBL) to continue to grow and create USA jobs while giving customers more choice through our global partnerships.”

And the USA Travel Association said it was “very pleased that the big 3 USA airlines and their allies are embracing the administration’s wise decision to reject both a freeze on international flights and renegotiation of "Open Skies" agreements.”

With everybody seemingly “happy” with the Qatar outcome, the talks focus on the (UAE). That’s a much harder negotiation. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are at least as important diplomatic, strategic and military partners to the USA as Qatar. And Dubai-based (EAD) is a powerhouse as a global carrier, a huge purchaser of USA-built airplanes, engines and avionics, and a valued code share partner to airlines such as (JBL). Significantly, (EAD) is the only 1 among the Gulf carriers using the 5th freedom rights contained in the "Open Skies" agreements. It operates flights to the USA from Athens and Milan.

That’s likely the main reason the anti-Gulf carrier faction sees the Qatar “understanding” as a win. If the 5th freedom pledge can be used as leverage to achieve the same with the (UAE), then the subsidy and American jobs allegations will probably dissipate. It was (EAD)’s treading directly into the all-important transatlantic market that most rattled the USA majors.

But Qatar had nothing to lose in giving up 5th freedom rights; (QTA) does not use them. There’s no indication that Emirates (EAD) will back off as easily on the issue; it started the Athens route last year at the height of the renewed campaign. And the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies" 5th freedom rights are essential to USA cargo carriers, including FedEx (FED), that can hub through Dubai. Adding to the (UAE) negotiation’s complexity, there is an ongoing diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia (another critical US partner), the (UAE) and other Arab countries that have isolated Qatar. So there’s no reason to believe (UAE) government officials are in a mood to follow a lead set by Qatar.

The Trump administration may find it much more difficult to deliver the all-round crowd pleaser that Qatar was willing to provide.

News Item A-6: A350-1041 (88, A7-ANA), ex-(F-WZNR).

March 2018: News Item A-1: "Relaunched Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) takes to the skies" by Alan Dron ( March 1, 2018.

Italian leisure carrier Meridiana (ALS) has relaunched as Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY), <2 weeks after the new name was announced.

The name Air Italy (EUY) was already in (EUY)’s brand portfolio as the title of a charter operator that Sardinia-based Meridiana (ALS) acquired in 2011. The former Air Italy (EUY) was incorporated into Meridiana (ALS) and acted as a capacity provider for the latter company.

However, Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) has now become the name for the entire group, following its relaunch with Qatar Airways (QTA) taking a 49% stake in Meridiana (ALS)’ new parent company, (AQA) Holding.

The 1st Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) flight took off at 2 am local time from Milan Malpensa Airport for Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa. The 1st domestic flight under the new identity left Olbia, (ALS)/(EUY)’s home base in Sardinia, for Rome Fiumicino 5 hours later. Olbia will be (ALS)/(EUY)’s main base for short-haul services, while Malpensa will be the base for long-haul operations.

The company will retain Meridiana (ALS)’s (IG) flight prefix.

Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) has a small fleet of around 12 Boeing 737-800s and 767-300ERs. However, these will be supplemented and replaced by 737 MAX 8s and Airbus A330-200s that will arrive via Qatar Airways (QTA) on leasing arrangements.

The A330s will, in turn, be replaced later by Boeing 787-8s, ordered by Qatar Airways (QTA) but destined for Air Italy.

The former Meridiana (ALS) was for many years 1 of the last major operators of the MD-80 series of jets; the type was withdrawn from service late last year and the last 1 departed Olbia on February 28.

News Item A-2: Oneworld (ONW) Alliance members Qatar Airways (QTA) and Iberia (IBE) are expanding their code share partnership.

The extended code share offers (IBE) customers increased connectivity to destinations across the Middle East and Asia, as well as providing enhanced accessibility for (QTA)’s passengers to key destinations across Latin America, including Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Panama.

(QTA) will apply its QR code to routes operated by Spanish flag carrier, (IBE) from Madrid to Panama City, Panama; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bogotá Medellín (MDE), Colombia; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Santo Domingo; Dominican Republic. (QTA) currently offers 2x-daily flights from Doha direct to Madrid. From July, this will increase to 17x-weekly.

News Item A-3: Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker sees opportunities in the global aircraft leasing business, but acknowledged (QTA) needs to “become aggressive because this is a very strong profit center for the airline.” Al Baker said he expects to have around 45 remaining airplanes for lease. “I don’t have the exact number, because we sold and leased back some of them while waiting for the 777 replacement,” he said.

News Item A-4: Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Qatar Airways (QTA) both introduced Airbus A350-900 XWB aircraft to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) over the March 24 to 25 weekend.

Early on March 24, (DAL) Flight 27 became the 1st A350-900 to depart from (ATL), lifting off at 12:35 am for Seoul/Incheon (ICN), South Korea. The return flight from Seoul touched down at (ATL) almost 19 hours later, at 7:03 pm.

(QTA)’s 1st A350 flight to (ATL) came March 25, as (QTA) Flight 755 from Doha touched down at 4:47 pm.

For (QTA), the A350-900 replaces its Boeing 777-300ERs on the Atlanta route, upping the passenger comfort quotient with an improved business (C) class, but also decreasing capacity, as the A350-900 seats a maximum 325 passengers versus the 777-300ER’s maximum 396. (QTA)’s A350 seats 283 passengers, with 26C business-class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 247Y economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Conversely, (QTA)’s 777-300ERs carry 358 passengers with 42C business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 316Y economy seats in a largely 3-4-3 configuration.

(QTA) began flying its Doha to Atlanta route in June 2016, 4 months after (DAL) ceased flying its Atlanta to Dubai route amidst the then-heated controversy around the USA legacy airlines’ (American Airlines (AAL), (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL)) campaign to persuade the USA government to take action against alleged “billions of dollars in illegal subsidies from Qatar to Qatar Airways (QTA) and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD),” a claim the 3 Gulf carriers denied.

Glen Hauenstein, then-incoming (DAL) President, said in an April 2016 conference call that (DAL) did not think (QTA)’s Doha to Atlanta route would be successful.

On January 30, 2018, the Qatari government required state-owned (QTA) to release an audited financial statement within a year, and assured the USA government that (QTA) had no current plans to operate 5th freedom flights to the USA. An “understanding” was reached between the 2 countries that the USA would not seek to reopen the "Open Skies" accord for negotiations, a development that brought some praise from (AAL), (DAL), (UAL) and USA airline labor groups, and calmed tensions, at least where Qatar was concerned.

Atlanta is the 5th USA city to which (QTA) directly flies its A350 XWBs, in addition to Boston, Miami, New York and Philadelphia. At the end of February, (QTA) took delivery of the 1st A350-1000, which began flights on (QTA)’s Doha to London route in early March.

April 2018: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has taken a minority stake in California-based jet charter company JetSuite.

(QTA) joins New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBA), which will be increasing its investment, and a number of private investors as stakeholders in both JetSuite and JetSuiteX.

(QTA) said the investment will help fuel the growth of JetSuite’s private aviation business, which currently focuses on light and very light jets. The investment extends to JetSuiteX, the sibling company to JetSuite, further accelerating the expansion of its semi-private air service on the USA west coast and beyond.

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said both JetSuite and JetSuite X are “complimentary to (QTA)’s business and maintain the core values and customer focus of our own business. We believe that JetSuite and JetSuiteX deliver a truly class-leading service to the USA market with a huge potential for development.”

This investment further supports (QTA) investment strategy, which already includes minority investments in several other international carriers, such as the International Airlines Group (IAG), (LATAM) Airlines Group, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific (CAT) and Air Italy.

JetSuiteX fills a niche in underserved short-haul markets and small airports. JetSuiteX operates its fleet of Embraer E135 aircraft from private terminals in California and Nevada.

According to the companies, the (QTA) investment will enable faster expansion of this fleet and the ability to reach new destinations, including the potential to bring the semi-private model to additional USA regions.

News Item A-2: Boeing and Qatar Airways (QTA) on April 10 signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase 5 777FDZ freighters, valued at $1.7 billion at list prices.

News Item A-3: 2 A350-941 (100, A6-ALA; 143, A6-ALZ) and A380-861 (254, A6-APK) deliveries.

May 2018: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) commenced its 5th connection to the UK on May 1, as Cardiff (CWL) was added to its portfolio of destinations operated from its Doha (DOH) hub.

(QTA) currently serves London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh, with flights to London Gatwick to start on May 22. To celebrate this special occasion, (QTA) flew 1 of its A350-900s to Cardiff, marking the 1st time a commercial flight with the type, whose wings are built by Airbus in Wales, has landed on Welsh soil.

Initially operating 5x-weekly, going forward (QTA) will operate a daily 787 service to Cardiff. (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker, said: “Today marks an especially important milestone for both (QTA) and Cardiff Airport. The new service, our 5th gateway into the UK, now provides the people of Wales and the South West with an extensive network of >150 destinations globally. We are delighted to welcome Cardiff into our route network, and to be able to provide the Welsh people with a new gateway to the world. We look forward to welcoming our new Welsh passengers on board and to connecting them to Doha and many points beyond.”

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) introduced its latest route from Doha (DOH) on May 30, a 2,821 km link to the Greek island of Mykonos (JMK). This becomes (QTA)’s 3rd route to Greece after Athens and Thessaloniki, with the latter having launched only a few months ago.

(QTA) Group (CEO), H.E. Akbar Al Baker, said of the launch: “We are thrilled that we have further expanded our operations to the beautiful island of Mykonos, only 2 months after the launch of service to Thessaloniki. The inaugural flight to popular Mykonos marks further growth and strengthening bonds between the State of Qatar and Greece.”

Flights on (QTA)’s 3rd route to Greece will be operated by the (MEB3) carrier’s fleet of A320s, with no other airline presently linking the 2 airports. This is also Mykonos’ 1st (MEB3) carrier service. (QTA) will add further routes to Europe in the coming weeks, with it planning to introduce Bodrum to its network on June 12, a route which will operate 2x-weekly, while Antalya (also 2x-weekly) and Malaga (4x-weekly) will be stamped onto (QTA)’s route map the following day based on its booking engine.

2 777-3D7ER (64086, A7-BER; 64089, A7-BES), ex-(N5014K, N5023Q), deliveries, A330-202 (820, A7-ACL) and A330-203 (521, A7-ACD) leased to Air Italy, and A350-941 (106, A7-ALV) ex-(F-WZFT) delivery.

June 2018: News Item A-1: His Excellency (H.E.) Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Qatar Airways (QTA) was appointed the new (IATA) Chairman for the current year at the (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Sydney, Australia on June 3rd to 5th, 2018.

News Item A-2: "Countries Boycotting Qatar Airways Want Flying-Rights Case Moved to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)" by Zainab Fattah, Bloomberg News, June 27, 2018.

A Saudi-led bloc is seeking to move a case on reopening its airspace to Qatari airplanes to the International Court of Justice (IJC) from a United Nations Aviation Agency.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt said the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "was not competent to consider that dispute," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The 4 Arab nations cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June last year, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and cozying up to Iran, charges Qatar denies. They also barred Qatar-registered planes from their airspace.

Qatar filed a case with the (ICAO), seeking to force the boycotting countries to reopen their airspace using a dispute resolution mechanism in the Chicago Convention. The Montreal-headquartered (ICAO)'s council agreed to grant Qatar the opportunity to hear the case.

The 4 nations "believe that the organization has fully exercised its technical competence" in finding alternative routes for Qatari aircraft, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said in March that the boycott will push (QTA) to a "very large loss," and added that (QTA) will need to find new streams of financing to survive since it has no access to the equivalent of USA Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

July 2018: A350-941 (126, A7-ALX), delivery.

August 2018: Qatar Airways (QTA) will begin daily, Prague to Doha Airbus A320 and Boeing 787 services on October 28.

September 2018: News Item A-1: "Qatar Airways Posts -$69.1 Million Net Loss on ‘Illegal Blockade,’" by (ATW) Alan Dron (, September 18, 2018.

Qatar Airways (QTA) slumped into the red in its last financial year, recording a net loss of -QR251.6 million/-$69.1 million after what (QTA) described as “the most challenging year in its 20-year history.”
In the previous financial year, (QTA) recorded a net profit (restated) of +QR2.8 billion.

Qatar and 4 of its Middle East neighbors: Saudi Arabia, the (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt have been at diplomatic loggerheads since June 2017, a dispute that has seen (QTA), the Qatari flag carrier barred from the 4 nations’ airspace. Airlines from the 4 nations have also ceased flying to Doha, the Qatari capital.

Qatar describes the ban on flights as an illegal blockade; given the geographic position of Saudi, Bahraini and (UAE) airspace to the west, north and south, respectively, many (QTA)’s flights have had to adopt longer routings to avoid the barred areas.

(QTA) said that, despite the geopolitical problems it had faced, revenue grew +7.22% to QR42.2 billion in the year to March 31, while capacity, measured in (ASK)s, grew +9.96%.

Lower revenue growth was directly attributable to being barred from airspace, which affected departing seats by 19%. Cargo revenue witnessed “very impressive growth” of 34.4% against cargo capacity that grew +14% in terms of (ATK)s.

The diplomatic row meant that Qatar Airways (QTA) had to suspend 18 mature routes, replacing these with 14 new destinations during the fiscal year. “New destinations come with launch costs and the necessity to establish market presence, which resulted in an overall net loss of QR252 million. With a positive operating cash inflow, the cash position of the group remained strong at QR13.3 billion.”

“This turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on our financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade has had on our airline,” (QTA) Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said in a typically combative statement accompanying the results. “However, I am pleased to say that (thanks to our robust business planning, swift actions in the face of the crisis, our passenger-focused solutions and dedicated staff) the impact has been minimized, and has certainly not been as negative as our neighboring countries may have hoped for.”

As well as opening new routes, existing sectors saw an increase in frequency and capacity as capacity was redeployed with the aim of softening the impact of losing 18 destinations.

Qatar noted that, despite its travails, (QTA) had continued to pick up a clutch of airline industry awards. It also noted that during the financial year, the Qatar Airways Group had continued to expand its investment portfolio in other carriers. This included an initial 9.94% stake in Cathay Pacific (CAT) (since increased to 9.9%) as well as a 49% share in (AQA) Holding, parent company of Italy’s Meridiana fly, which was relaunched as Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) in February 2018.

During the year, (QTA) was the 1st to introduce the Airbus A350-1000; in total, it took 20 aircraft of various types into its inventory over the financial year.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) video of 1st flight to Saint Petersburg, Russia:

October 2018: News Item A-1: "Al Baker said Qatar Airways Could leave Oneworld in 2019" by Kurt Hofmann (, October 23, 2018.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker told members of the media on October 18 in New York that its Oneworld (ONW) membership is in question and (QTA) could leave the alliance in 2019.

Even though he stressed the importance of (QTA)’s position in Oneworld (ONW) (describing it as 1 of the most important tools for collective action in serving customer needs) he suggested some (ONW) alliance members, especially the USA Big 3 carriers: American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) were not on good terms with (QTA).

“In June 2013, we joined the (ONW) alliance. We were invited by (AAL) and British Airways (BAB) together. Unfortunately, the same airline that invited us, is now talking against (QTRA),” Al Baker said.

Al Baker added there are a lot of bad feelings with the 3 USA airlines, despite (QTA)’s agreement not to exercise 5th freedom flights into the USA. Al Baker said that while 1 of the principal purposes of an alliance is for members to feed passengers to each other, (QTA) is now getting more passengers from non-(ONW) airlines.
He said he could see (QTA) withdrawing from (ONW), possibly next year, and said (QTA) would privatize in the next decade.

“As in most families, there are times where members of our (ONW) have differences on specific points from time to time. We hope these can be resolved quickly so the carriers can focus on providing great service to our customers,” (ONW) VP Corporate Affairs Michael Blunt said.

On October 20, Al Baker further emphasized how the beneficial exchange of culture and commerce made possible by the USA - Qatar "Open Skies" agreement must not be blocked merely because of (QTA)’s decision to serve markets that others have ignored.

(QTA) operates a fleet of >200 airplanes to >150 destinations.

November 2018: Walsh: Qatar Airways (QTA) ‘Highly Likely’ to Leave Oneworld Alliance" by Victoria Moores (, November 2, 2018.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh believes there is a real likelihood that the Qatar Airways (QTA)’s (CEO) will follow up on his public statements and take the Doha-based carrier out of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance.

Qatar Airways (QTA) Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker has said (QTA) could exit from (ONW) in 2019. (QTA) joined (ONW) in 2013, based on a joint invitation from American Airlines (AAL) and (IAG) carrier British Airways (BAB), which was the sponsor.

During an October media briefing in New York, Al Baker said (AAL) has been “talking against (QTA).” (AAL) was a founding (ONW) member along with (BAB), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Qantas (QAN) in 1999.

But friction arose between the (AAL) and (QTA) (CEO)s over the alleged subsidy campaign that (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) ran against (QTA), Emirates (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD). This was exacerbated when (QTA) revealed in June 2017 that it was looking to take a 10% stake in (AAL). That move was strongly and publicly rebuffed by (AAL) (CEO) Doug Parker and the bid was dropped soon after.

In November 2017, (QTA) took a 10% stake in (CAT). It already had a 20% stake in (BAB) parent the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of (BAB), a 10% stake in Santiago-based (LATAM) Airlines (LAN) Group, and a 49% investment in Italy’s Meridiana (ALS).

On November 2, during (IAG)’s capital markets day, Walsh, who has a good working relationship with Al Baker, said of the (ONW) situation, “I think it’s highly likely that (QTA) will leave the (ONW) alliance. I have had regular contact Akbar Al Baker on this issue. He doesn’t say these things without being genuinely behind the comments. He is annoyed at the way some (ONW) members have responded, as alliance partners. I think this is a genuine threat,” he said.

(ATW) understands that (ONW) member airlines must give a year’s notice of leaving the global alliance and pay an exit fee. Walsh added that Al Baker has assured him that any changes in (ONW) membership would not impact the relationship between the (IAG) and (QTA). Under this relationship, the (IAG) has sourced airplanes from the (QTA) fleet.

Walsh said the 2 companies would continue to explore new ways of working together, regardless of whether they were (ONW) alliance partners or whether (QTA) continues to hold a stake in the (IAG).

(QTA) has been through a challenging 12 months, following a diplomatic dispute involving its home country with 4 of its Middle East neighbors (Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) which started in June 2017. This led to a blockade with the Qatari flag carrier being barred from entering those nations’ airspace, affecting its network and sales, and impacting financial results.

In September, (QTA) posted a net loss of -QR251.6 million/-$69.1 million for its financial year, describing it as “the most challenging year” in its 20-year history.

December 2018: News Item A-1: "(USA) Senators Call for Probe of Qatar Airways’ Support of Air Italy" by Ben Goldstein (, December 5, 2018.

A group of 11 USA senators have called on the USA government to examine whether Qatar Airways (QTA)’s financial support for Air Italy (EUY) may violate a commitment by the state-owned airline not to conduct 5th freedom flights to the USA.

In a December 3 letter sent to the secretaries of the Departments of Transportation, Commerce & State, the group of Republican senators expressed concern that (QTA) may be subsidizing (EUY) (of which it owns a 49% stake) to operate “commercially questionable” daily nonstop services between Milan, Italy, and New York, as well as 4x-weekly services between Milan and Miami, Florida.

The lawmakers said Air Italy (EUY)’s entry into the “crowded market appears consistent with Qatar Airways (QTA)’s pattern of adding subsidized capacity in markets where demand is already served.”

The route between Milan and New York is already operated by 5 other carriers, including American Airlines (AAL), Italy’s national carrier Alitalia (ALI), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Emirates (EAD) and United Airlines (UAL).

Just hours after the senators questioned (EUY)’s ability to launch such services, (EUY) announced plans to start flights to 2 more USA gateways. It is proposing to start 4x-weekly services to both Los Angeles and San Francisco from Milan Malpensa on April 3 and 10, respectively. The sectors will be operated by Airbus A330-200s that have been leased from Qatar Airways (QTA).

“The opening of these new routes from our Malpensa hub is a fundamental component of the development plan for 2019, as our network grows, and we take the next critical step in the business’s development,” (EUY) (COO) Rossen Dimitrov said.

In 2017, (QTA) acquired a 49% stake in (AQA) Holding, the parent company of Meridiana Fly (ASL), which was later rebranded as Air Italy (EUY). Prior to the acquisition, Meridiana (ASL) mainly served domestic Italian routes, as well as some seasonal international service between Naples and Palermo, Italy, and New York.

The senators said that, absent funding from (QTA), (EUY) “would be unable to launch its new service, just as (QTA) would not be viable without direct support from the Qatari government.”

“Therefore, we would respectfully appreciate further examination and a response regarding how these recent developments comport with the Qatari government’s January 2018 commitments to the USA, and the Trump Administration’s commitment to ensure a level playing field for airline workers in the USA,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by Senators Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas), John Hoeven (Republican-North Dakota), James Inhofe (Republican-Oklahoma), David Perdue (Republican-Georgia), Pat Roberts (Republican-Kansas), Mike Rounds (Republican-South Dakota), John Cornyn (Republican-Texas), Johnny Isakson (Republican-Georgia), Thom Tillis (Republican-North Carolina), James Risch (Republican-Idaho) and Orrin Hatch (Republican-Utah).

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA)’s 1st non-stop flight from Doha to Mombasa, Kenya landed today at Moi International Airport, marking (QTA)’s 2nd gateway in Kenya.


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QTA-777-200LR - 2013-04
QTA-777-2DZER 2009-11
QTA-777-300ER - 2014-06
QTA-777-300ER - Oneworld Livery - 2017-08.jpg
QTA-777-300ER A7-BAE 2018-10 X.jpg
QTA-777-300F A7-BFH 2018-07.jpg
QTA-777-3DZER A7-BAE 2017-11.jpg
QTA-777-A7-ACN 2018-10 A.jpg
QTA-777-FDZ 1192-39645 A7-BFF 2016-06.jpg
QTA-777F - 2015-01
QTA-777X - 2013-11
QTA-787 - 2012-07
QTA-787 - 2012-07-A
QTA-787 - 2012-07-B
QTA-787 - 2012-07-C
QTA-787 - 2012-07-D
QTA-787-8 A7-BCP 2018-05 X.jpg
QTA-787-8DZ - 2013-10.jpg
QTA-A320 - 2015-07.jpg
QTA-A321neo 2017-12.jpg
QTA-A330 DOHA 2006
QTA-A330-200F - 2013-11
QTA-A330-203 - A
QTA-A350 - 1ST - 2014-09
QTA-A350 XWB AT DOHA-2014-02
QTA-A350-1000 - 2016-02.jpg
QTA-A350-1000 1st Engine Run 2017-12.jpg
QTA-A350-1000 and A350-900 2018-02.jpg
QTA-A350-900 LHR 2018-06.jpg
QTA-A350-900 oneworld 2018-07.jpg
QTA-A350-XWB at Singapore Airshow - 2017-08.jpg
QTA-A380 - 2017-06.jpg

December 2018:

0 727-2M7 (JT8D) (1680-21951, /80 A7-ABC), EX-(HAW)/(EAD), SOLD TO (PSS).

0 727-264 (JT8D) (1802-22982, /82 A7-ABD), EX-(DUB)/(EAD), SOLD TO (PSS).

60 ORDERS 737 MAX 8:

1 747-433BCF (CF6-80C2B1F) (24998, TC-ACH), EX-(B-2477), MYCARGO AIRLINES (ACC) LEASED 2015-08, FREIGHTER.


2 747-8F (63199, A7-BGB, 2017-09) FREIGHTER.


13 777-2DZF (GE90-1151L) (36100, A7-BFB, 2010-06; 36102, A7-BBH "AL QALAIL" 2010-08; 36099, A7-BFC "LBESHAIRIYA" 2011-10), FREIGHTER.

7 777-2DZLR (GE90-115B1) (753-36012, A7-BBA, 2009-02; 762-36013, A7-BBB, 2009-02; 825-36015, A7-BBC, 2009-11; 831-36016, A7-BBD, 2009-12; 837-36017, A7-BBE, 2009-12; 842-36018, A7-BBF, 2010-01), WORLDLINER, 42C, 217Y.

9 777-2D7LR (GE90-110B1) (753-36012, /08 A7-BBA "ALHUWALLA;" 762-36013, /09 A7-BBB "GAZA;" 835-36015, /09 A7-BBC; 831-36016, /09 A7-BBD "AL-ZOOR;" 837-36017, /09A7-BBE; 842-36018, /09A7-BBF; 883-36101 /10 A7-BBG; 885-36102 /10 A7-BBH "AL QALAIL;" 962-41061, /11 A7-BBI "JAOW ALSALAM"), LEASED, 42C, 217Y.

46 777-3DZER (GE90-115BL2) 731-36010 /08 A7-BAC; 742-36095, /08 A7-BAI; 750-36011, /08 A7-BAO; 769-36104, /09 A7-BAE "ALMAS-HABIA" AND ALSO FC BARCELONA COLORS; 815-37661, /09 A7-BAF; 819-36014, /09 A7-BAG "LITTORIYA;" 849-37662, /10 A7-BAH; 851-36096, /10 A7-BAJ; 859-36097, /10 A7-BAK "AL-GHARIA;" 893-38244, /10 A7-BAL; 910-38247, /10 A7-BAQ; 922-38245, /11 A7-BAM; 925-38246, /11 A7-BAN; 958-38248, /11 A7-BAP "AL QATTARD;" 997-41062, /12 A7-BAS; 41741, A7-BAW, 2013-01; 41780, /13 A7-BAX; 1226-43216, A7-BEC "Sadriyate al ham", 2014-08; A7-BED; 60331, A7-BEE, 2015-07; A7-BEO; 64086, A7-BER, 2018-05; 64089, A7-BES, 2018-05), 42C, 293Y.

6 +5 ORDERS 777-FDZ (GE90-115BL2) (865-36098, /10 A7-BFA "AL WAKRAH;" 874-36100, /10 A7-BFB "LIBSEER;" 970-36099, /11 A7-BFC "LBESHAIRIYA;"
41427, /15 A7-BFD; 2017-03), FREIGHTER.

3 777-FDZ (GE90-115BL2) (39644, A7-BFE, 2013-06; A7-BFH, 2013-06 - SEE PHOTO -2018-07; 1473-62086, A7-BFL, 2017-11). FREIGHTER.

4/4 ORDERS 777-FDZ (GE90-115BL2), FREIGHTER:

10 ORDERS 777-8X (GE9X):


30 +30 OPTIONS 787-8DZ DREAMLINER (GEnx-64B) (38319, /12 A7-BCA - - SEE PHOTO - - "QTA-787 - 2012-07;" A7-BCB; 38321, A7-BCC, 2013-01; 38322, A7-BCD, 2013-06; 38323, A7-BCE, 2013-07; 38333, A7-BCO; 38339, /05 A7-BCU SEE PHOTO; 38340, A7-BCV, 2015-05; 38341, A7-BCW, 2015-09), 22C, 232Y.


3 A300B4-622R (PW4158) (554, /90 A7-ABX "AL DAWHA;" 560, /90 A7-ABY FUWAIRIT;" 614, /91 A7-AFB "AL'ARISH"), FREIGHTER.

0 A300B4-622R (PW4158) (688, /93 A7-ABW), EX-(GUY), (AWW) LEASED 2000-04. RETURNED. 12F, 18C, 232Y.

0 A300B4-622R (PW4158) (690, /93 A7-ABV), EX-(SHY), (AWW) LEASED 2000-04. RETURNED. 12F, 18C, 232Y.

0 A310-200 (JT9D-7R4) (043 TO (ARQ) 1998-04).

0 A310-300 (CF6-80C2A8) (588) TO (AIJ) 2001-03.


3 A319-133LR CORPORATE JET (V2527M-A5) (1656, /01 A7-CJA "AL HILAL;" 2341, /04 A7-CJB "AL JASRA;" 4114, A7-MED, 2009-12), 8F, 102Y.

14 A320-200.

1 A320-214 (6811, A7-LAH), EX-(F-WWID) 2015-11, LEASED TO (QTA) NEW SUBSIDIARY, AL MAHA AIRWAYS 2015-11.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (928, /98 A7-ABR "AL KHOR;" 932, /99 A7-ABS; 943, /99 A7-ABT; 977, /99 A7-ABU; 758, A7-AHN, 2000-11), (SIL) LEASED. 758 RETURNED TO (SIL) 2001-03, LEASED TO (TSZ). 932; 943; 977; RETURNED 2004-03, LEASED TO (DCC). 12C, 132Y.

19 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (1566, /01 A7-ADA "AL ZUBARA;" 1648, /01 A7-ADB "DUKHAN;" 1733, /02 A7-ADC "MESSAEID;" 1895, /02 A7-ADD "HALUL;" 1957, /03 A7-ADE "AL GHARAFA;" 2097, /03 A7-ADF "AL WUKEIR;" 2121, /04 A7-ADG "AL GHUWERIYAH;" 2138, /03 A7-ADH "AL JUMEILIYAH;" 2161, /04 A7-ADI "AL KHURAYTIYAT;" 2288, /04 A7-ADJ "AL SAMRIYA;" 3369, A7-ADW, 2008-01; 4110, A7-AHA, 2009-12; 4130, A7-AHB, 2009-12; 4173, A7-AIA, 2010-02; 4183, A7-AHC, 2010-02; 4436, AZ-AHD, 2010-09; 4784, A7-AHK, 2011-08; 4802, A7-AHL, 2011-08; 4858, A7-AHP, 2011-10; 4968, A7-AHR, 2012-01; 5217, A7-AHW, 2012-07). 12C, 132Y.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (4170, A7-MBK), EX-(F-WWDF). EXECUTIVE.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3071, /07 A7-ADU), (TCI) LEASED 2007-03. 12C 132Y.

50 ORDERS A321neo (LEAP-1A):

2 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (1928, /04 A7-ADS "AL AALIYAH;" 2107, /04 A7-ADT "AL SAFLIYAH"), (DEA) LEASED. 12F, 165Y.

3 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (3274, /07 A7-ADV; 3369, /08 A7-ADW; 3397, /08 A7-ADX), (TCI) LEASED. 12F, 165Y.

3 +3 ORDERS A321-231 (V2533-A5) (4173, A7-AIA, 2010-02; A7-AIB, 2011-10; 4406, A7-AIC, 2010-08), 12F, 165Y.

4 A330-202 (820, A7-ACL, 2007-03; 849, A7-ACM, 2007-06; 907, A7-AEN, 2008-03; 918, A7-AEO, 2008-02), 820 LEASED TO AIR ITALY 2018-05. 12F, 24C, 192Y.

4 A330-202 (CF6-80E1A4) (473, /02 A7-ACA; 489, /02 A7-ACB "AL MAJIDA;" 511, /03 A7-ACC "AL SHAHANIYA;" 571, /04 A7-ACE "AL DHAKHIRA"), 12F, 18C, 208Y.

2 A330-202 (CF6-80E1A4) (441, /03 A7-ACH "AL MAFJAR;" 521, /03 A7-ACD "AL WUSEIL"), 12F, 18C, 208Y.

0 A330-202 (CF6-80E1A4) (463, /02 A7-AFN "AL WAKRA;" 504, /02 A7-AFO; RETURNED. 22C, 259Y.

1 A330-202 (CF6-80E1A4B) (638, /04 A7-ACF "AL KARA'ANAH"), 12F, 18C, 208Y.

8 A330-202 (CF6-80E1A4B) (612, /04 A7-AFL "AL MESSILAH;" 616, /04 A7-AFM "AL UDAID;" 684, /05 A7-A7-AFP "AL SHAMAL;" 743, /06 A7-ACG "AL WABRA;" 746, /06 A7-ACI "MUAITHER;" 760, /06 A7-ACJ "ZIKREET;" 792, /06 A7-ACK; 820, /06 A7-ACL; 849, /07 A7-ACM), 616; LEASE RETURNED TO HAMBURG. 24C, 248Y.

0 A330-203 (CF6-80EF1) (487, A7-HJJ), CONVERTED TO (VIP) FOR AMIRI FLIGHT (QAT) 2002-08. 24C, 248Y.

1 A330-203 (CF6-80EF1) (521 A7-ACD) LEASED TO AIR ITALY 2018-05. 24C, 248Y.

8 A330-243F (1350, /13 A7-AFV; 1584, /14 A7-AFG), EX-(F-WXAD & F-WWKM). FREIGHTER.

3 A330-302 (CF6-80E1A4B) (623, /04 A7-AEA "AL MUNTAZAH;" 637, /04 A7-AEB "AL SAYLIYAH;" 659, /05 A7-AEC "AL MARKHIYA"), EX-(MAS), (ILF) LEASED, 12F, 24C, 223Y.

10 A330-302 (CF6-80E1A4B) (680, /05 A7-AED "AL NU'UMAN;" 711, /05 A7-AEE "SEMAISMA;" 721, /06 A7-AEF "AL RUMEILAH;" 734, /06 A7-AEG, "AL DUHEIL;" 789, /06 A7-AEH; 813, /06 A7-AEI; 826, /07 A7-AEJ; 893, /07 A7-AEM; 907, /08 A7-AEK; 918, /08 A7-AEO "SHADEEDAH"), 30C, 275Y.

7 OPTIONS A330-200/-300 (CF6-80E1):

0 A340-313X (CFM56-5C4) (528, /03 A7-AAH), 10F, 30C, 225Y.

4 A340-642 HGW (TRENT 556A2-61), (MGTOW): 376 TONNES) (715, /06 A7-AGB "RAS DUKHAN;" 740, /06 A7-AGA; 766, /06 A7-AGC "RAS USHAIRIJ;" 798, /07 A7-AGD, 2007-03), 8F, 42C, 216Y.

76 ORDERS (2014-12) A350 XWB-900/-1000 (TRENT XWB):

28 +19 ORDERS A350-941 (TRENT XWB-83) (006, /14 A7-ALA, 2014-12; 007, /15 A6-ALB, 2015-03; 009, /15 A7-ALC, 2015-05; 25, /16 ALJ, 2016-08; 47, /17 A7-ALN, 2017-02; 69, /17 A7-ALP, 2017-05), EX-(F-WZFB, F-WZGT).

5 A350-941 (TRENT XWB-83) (64, A7-AMB; 79, A7-AMA; 100, A6-ALA; 126, A7-ALX, 2018-07; 143, A6-ALZ, 2018-04), EX-(PR-XTF & PR-XTG), (LATAM) BRAZIL (TPR) LEASED 2017-02.

2 +35 ORDERS A350-1041 (TRENT XWB-92) (88, A7-ANA, 2018-02), LAUNCH CUSTOMER. 326 PAX.

10 +24 ORDERS A380-861 (A7-AKA, 2014-09; A7-AKB; A7-AKC; A7-AKD; A7-AKE; 145, /14 A7-APC, 2014-12; 160, /14 A7-APD, 2014-12; A7-APE; 197, A7-APH, 2017-05 254, A6-APK, 2018-04), 517 PAX, 3 CLASS.

2 ACJ319



Click below for photos:
QTA-1-Akbar Al Baker-2016-05.jpg
QTA-4-Ehab Amin - 2L-2017-08.jpg
QTA-4-Ehab Amin 2018-02.jpg
QTA-5-JARED LEE - R -2014-10
QTA-7-Nazir Abduvakhidov - L - 2017-12.jpg


Akbar Al Baker has been instrumental in shaping the development of Qatar Airways (QTA) into 1 of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world. Born in Doha, he is a graduate in Economics and Commerce and worked at various levels in the Civil Aviation Directorate, before becoming (QTA)'s (CEO) in 1997. He has over the last decade, spearheaded the growth of (QTA), which operated only 4 airplanes in a regional capacity prior to his appointment.

He also has led the development of the Doha International Airport, which opened in phases from 2010. A highly motivated individual, Mr Al Baker has been a successful businessman in Doha for >25 years, holds a private pilot license, and is also (CEO) of several divisions of Qatar's national airline (these being Qatar Airways Holidays, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Duty Free Company, Doha International Airport, Qatar Distribution Company, and Qatar Aircraft Catering Company).

February 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker responded strongly to remarks made by Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus in which the Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) called for an (ICAO) mechanism to regulate "capacity dumping" by Qatar Airways (QTA), Emirates Airline (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD), describing the comments as "factually incorrect and unfounded."

Speaking to the International Aviation Club in Washington, Schulte-Strathaus said the airlines represent a new kind of competitive threat that is incompatible with the existing world aviation order. The trio of Persian Gulf-based carriers "are owned by their respective governments and operated as an instrument of national strategy (if 'national' is the right word within this regional rivalry) and they are integrated vertically across commerce, tourism and foreign policy."

Baker riposted: "I would like to pose a question to Mr Schulte-Strathaus: Can he tell me of any country of the world which does not consider its air transport industry, be that an individual airline or a multitude of them, as part of national interests? Was it not the case that the USA government provided its airlines with cash outlays and tax breaks, as well as war insurance subsidies after "September 11" in order to ensure the continuity of the USA air transport industry?" He further noted that "the position of the USA has consistently been to preserve the national identity and ownership of the USA airlines." And he reminded the (AEA) head of the "billions of euros" that European Union (EU) governments have pumped into airlines for "restructuring purposes."

Baker took issue with the claim that the close proximity of the hubs of Doha (Qatar), Dubai (Emirates) and Abu Dhabi (Etihad) represents an anomaly in civil aviation, arguing that "it is quite common to have a multitude of hubs in close proximity," citing among others Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and Paris, Amsterdam and London.

He also challenged Schulte-Strathaus' comparison between the size of the wide body long haul fleet of the USA major airlines and the larger backlog held by the three carriers as misleading, because "the backbone of the USA air transport industry is domestic operations."

Baker said that (QTA) would "have no problem whatsoever" with (ICAO) becoming a kind of (WTO) of the airways: "I would go even further: Why don't we apply the (WTO) principles on aviation to ensure that 1st and foremost the rights of the consumers and free competition apply across the board?" he said.

June 2011: Qatar Airways (QTA)’s outspoken (CEO), Akbar Al Baker criticized (IATA) (ITA) for appearing to be “run for the few, by the few” and lacking full transparency. According to Akbar Al Baker, there was “an unusual a level of tension during the normally carefully orchestrated morning sessions of the (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM)” in Singapore, with active debates on several issues, including the nomination of board members. He revealed that Emirates (EAD) called for greater dialogue to ensure (IATA) is more transparent, while the International Airlines Group (IAG), the holding company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), sought clarity on the voting process used to select board members.

Akbar Al Baker “led a vocal onslaught by a number of international airlines over (IATA)’s failure to show clear transparency in its processes” and questioned the auditing process for (IATA)’s financial statement. Al Baker highlighted some of (IATA)’s expenditures, including $18 million on travel, $58 million on data processing and Information Technology (IT), and $29 million on outsourcing and consultancy. He called on (IATA) to justify “such large sums spent on travel” and the processes by which consultant and outsourcing contracts were awarded. He backed a motion for (IATA) to reconsider the appointment of its auditors.

Al Baker also questioned the “surprise” nomination of Etihad Airways (EHD) (CEO) James Hogan to fill the extra seat created to broaden the representation of Middle East carriers on (IATA)’s board. “We believe such issues should not be surprises,” he said. “1stly, such decisions should be transparent and 2ndly, if geographical representation is the basis of the composition of the board, the regional airlines involved should be informed in advance of their regional allotments so that they can coordinate who should represent them.”








































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