Qatar’s ultra-modern Hamad International Airport will receive first passengers on April 1 when the new airport opens in Doha, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar al-Baker has said.
“The airport will be fully operational and fully open to all airlines in the second half of this year. Qatar Civil Aviation Authority chairman has stated that on April 1 the airport will be opened to airlines that do not require lounge utilisation,” al-Baker said on the sidelines of the World GTL Congress at the St Regis Doha yesterday.
Al-Baker said a new company had been commissioned to do the fit-out (lounges) at the Hamad International Airport since September 2012 “and they are now working full blast”.
“They are going to deliver lounges to us, starting from June until September this year,” al-Baker said.
Al-Baker said the new airport to be operated by Qatar Airways would have “GTL jet fuel dispensing facility” as is the case with the existing Doha International Airport.
“But, as an airport operator, we cannot force any foreign airline to use GTL from our airport…it is up to them…and of course, there is a process of getting approvals from the regulators of those countries to allow an airline to use GTL. Qatar Civil Aviation Authority has authorised us to use GTL on our airline, because it is a certified fuel,” al-Baker said.
Earlier, in a keynote speech at the World GTL Congress, al-Baker highlighted the leading role the airline was playing in global aviation utilising natural gas as a source for a new and cleaner aviation fuel.
“Qatar Airways began this journey five years ago with the aim of ensuring not only energy security and sustainable growth for our airline, but for the industry at large.
“Since then we have moved from a concept on paper to the commercial supply of GTL fuel at the New Doha International Airport which will open its doors later this year, providing all aircraft that land with the facility to refuel with Gas-to-Liquids jet fuel.
“Qatar Airways remains committed to implementing new ideas and initiatives that benefit our passengers, the environment and of course the efficient running of our airline.”
GTL blend fuel, al-Baker stressed, has a variety of advantages for global airlines.
“It has a higher energy density compared with conventional jet fuel; therefore you can fly the same distance by less weight of fuel. This will result in airlines being able to carry more payload, which is clearly a commercial advantage,” al-Baker said.
The GTL blend fuel also offers “improved thermal stability”, meaning engines will be able to safely run at hotter temperatures, which makes the engine burn cleaner and releases fewer emissions and preserves the life span of the engines.
Both of these characteristics may lead to potential fuel economy and improved payload range performance, which could result in carbon dioxide benefits for specific aircraft and route combinations.
“This is being studied on an ongoing basis as we gain operational experience with the fuel being phased into our daily operations,” al-Baker said.
Recently, Qatar Airways, QP and Shell achieved a milestone when an Airbus A340-600 operated a commercial flight using GTL fuel from Doha International Airport for the first time for its journey to London Heathrow.
The new fuel was the first to be approved globally in over two decades.
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