20 years of Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, so Business Review Middle East is taking at the airline’s success story.
Although it initially started out as a small, regional airline in 1994, Qatar Airways was relaunched in 1997, as the national airline of the State of Qatar.
It was headed up (and still is) by Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, who is also CEO of several other divisions – Qatar Executive, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, Qatar Distribution Company, Qatar Duty Free and Internal Media Services.
In April 2011, Qatar Airways reached 00 destinations in its global route map and, just two months later, it was named Airline of the Year 2011 at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards with over 18 million travellers worldwide casting their votes – it has since received this award a further two times. A considerable achievement for such a young airline.
The HQ of Qatar Airways is at Hamad International Airport in Doha and today it has a global network of over 150 destinations, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a fleet of more than 180 passenger and cargo aircraft – a huge increase on the four aircraft in its 1997 fleet.
Nobu Matsuhisa is head chef for Qatar Airways’ Premium Class menu – the internationally acclaimed chef spent months ensuring that his culinary creations would be perfect, even at 30,000 feet. The airline also operates corporate jets for its executive subsidiary Qatar Executive, which was launched in 2009.
Qatar Airways launched a global brand campaign in 2015 – only the second time it has ever done this – and unlike many airlines, it chose not to hire famous faces for the advertising. A spokesperson told Marketing Week: “Others have produced commercials with Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston, but we thought we would do something from the heart. We didn’t want to copy anyone else.”
Read the October 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine