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Posted On: 18 May 2008 12:50 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Qatar Airways Plans Low-Cost Carrier

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Qatar Airways is likely to launch a low-cost carrier with better services than the existing low frills carriers in the Middle East, the CEO Akbar Al-Baker said yesterday. Al-Baker, who has had opposed such a model for Qatar Airways in the past, yesterday categorically said that airline was capable to roll out such service in 90 days. "We are watching the market trends very closely and if Qatar Airways feels that low-cost carriers are undermining the revenue base of Qatar Airways this can happen in three months. Though we don't believe in this type of business but Qatar Airways will be able to deliver such service depends upon the market." Talking about the airline's expansion strategy he said that the airline would continue to enhance it network. "We are increasing flights to Bahrain from 42 per week to 47 as part of our strategy." He said that $500 million infrastructure development at Qatar Airport would help to accommodate the airline's growing needs on the ground. "Qatar Airways will achieve the ambitious target of 35 percent annual growth for next three years through additional aircraft and more destinations to be covered by the carrier." Talking about the $15 billion new Doha International Airport he said that the multi-billion dollar project has been completed as 60 percent of the site is built on land dredged from the sea. Both runways are taking shape and terminal infrastructure is well under construction. The airport is due to open in 2010 with an initial capacity of 24 million passengers a year, rising to 50 million during the final development phase from 2015 onward. Qatar Airways, with an outstanding aircraft order of $30 billion, is set to become the world's best airline by 2011 when the airline is projected to make a profit. Al Baker said the Qatar Airways would go for an initial public offering (IPO) after achieving profitability for consecutive three years. "We will launch an IPO after three years of profitability and are looking at offering 49 percent ownership to investors. Al Baker, who was joined by Abdul Qadir Aziz, regional manager, Bahrain and UAE, said: "We are looking at 2010 or 2011 to achieve profitability, and within three years we will go for an IPO. Qatar Airways has so far invested over $12.5 billion since its inception." By Mahmood Rafique © Arab News 2008