[Video] Qatar Airways Receives First Airbus A380
Leading Middle East carrier Qatar Airways held a large press briefing with Airbus at the plane maker’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, as the airline took delivery of its highly anticipated first A380.
With 10 Airbus A380-800s on order, Qatar Airways is preparing to take delivery of four of them before the end of this year.
Speaking at the press conference at the Airbus base Qatar Airways Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “This has been a moment more than a decade in the making and we are so delighted to unveil a new passenger experience for our travellers.
“The A380 that we are introducing is not just any A380; we have completely designed every element, giving it a signature touch that has never been seen before on board.
“Additionally, the newly opened Hamad International Airport, the airline’s hub in Doha, has been specifically created with the A380 in mind, with five contact gates dedicated only for this aircraft, making the experience smooth and effortless for passengers.
The press event in Hamburg featured a lively round of questions for Mr. Al Baker as the highly anticipated super-jumbo makes its debut, joining the Qatar Airways fleet.
The airline will first introduce A380 services on one of its frequencies on the Doha – London route from October, followed by Paris Charles De Gaulle shortly thereafter.
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Qatar Airways as the latest airline to offer unprecedented A380 services to the world. The multi-award-winning carrier and our flagship product are a perfect match to excite the flying public in all markets.
“Leading carrier Qatar Airways aims for the best, and we are proud our A380 is an essential ingredient in their strategy to show-off their excellence and hospitality, connecting the world.”
The 517-seat aircraft is spread across twin decks in a tri-class configuration of eight seats in First Class; 48 seats in Business Class and 461 in Economy Class.
The First Class seats feature a 90-inch pitch with a fully flat bed. Business Class seats feature a pitch of 52 inches which also recline to fully flat beds.
Economy Class passengers benefit from the most spacious A380 arrangement flying in the skies, with a pitch of 32 inches spread in a 10-seats-across layout.
The premium cabin is fitted with multiple bespoke elements such as luxe finishings and tailor-made fabrics designed exclusively for the airline.
In-flight entertainment on board is state-of-the-art using the Thales mainframe Top Series Avant system with features such as an Android open platform with intuitive swipe functions and customised HD monitor of up to 26” in First Class.
The airline currently operates a mixed fleet of the Airbus family of aircraft, a large contingent being the single-aisle A320s and also a mixed range of A330s and A340s.
In the last quarter of 2014, it is expected that the airline will start receiving its first A350 XWB aircraft as the world’s launch customer.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.