Analysis of a success story with Hix Excellency M. Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Airways Group, and founding member of Qadran.
1) Qatar Airways is a true success story that, in almost 20 years, has come to be a major player in the sector, being both one of the most profitable and of one of the most award-winning companies in terms of quality.
What philosophy underlies such a success and what are your winning strategies?
Qatar Airways set out a mission to be the best airline in the world, and outlined a strategy to obtain this ranking.
Since 1997, the airline operated regionally within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Middle East servicing a handful of routes.
Qatar Airways set out a plan of growth, to reach all corners of the globe, a vibrant mix of leisure and business destinations.
By 2011 the airline reached 100 destinations, and now, just five years later, the global route map extends to over 150 destinations across six continents, with further growth planned.
With dedication, focus and an unwavering commitment to quality in all of our operations, services and onboard product, we ultimately reached our goal of being the best airline in the world, awarded by Skytrax, first in 2011. Receiving the award marked a pivotal moment in Qatar Airways’ history.
Subsequently in 2012, and then again in 2015 the airline reinforced its position by winning Airline of the Year three times in five years.
Service excellence in everything we do is the airline’s brand promise and foundation for all of the business units and subsidiaries.
Growth was planned carefully, sustainably and strategically, so that while our business was growing from strength-to-strength and the Qatar Airways brand was becoming globally recognized – we were careful not to grow at the expense of quality.
Therefore it is this consistent commitment to excellence, quality service and products that has been the bond that has brought our team together to achieve the many successes we have collectively reached as an airline.
2) Are you going to offer new services for the travellers who fly Qatar Airways from Paris?
Qatar Airways currently operates one Airbus A380, one A330 and one Boeing 777 between Doha and Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
We are proud to offer our loyal passengers with the latest state-of-the-art aircrafts so that they can travel with comfort and enjoy a memorable experience with our signature hospitality on board.
The airline’s A380 provides the ultimate in refined service, with a tri-class configuration, featuring a premium lounge on the upper deck and our latest design with ergonomic features in Economy Class.
French travelers benefit from our Qatar Airways global network with great possibilities to reach Middle-East, African, Asian and Pacific destinations from Paris. Our growth plans are focused on connecting more destinations to Paris, including the Seychelles, Krabi-Thailand and Auckland-New Zealand. In the last year, we have doubled the number of destinations we serve in Australia, now serving Sydney and Adelaide along with Perth and Melbourne.
3) How important is France for Qatar Airways and what are your medium and long-term visions for the French market?
Qatar Airways’ operations in France are extremely important to the airline’s network.
Celebrating over 15 years of service to France is a proud achievement for the airline; the country has been a strong foundation to the continual growth of the Qatar Airways route map.
Paris is a major global city and for our passengers travelling from the East; it is one of the top three connecting routes for onward connections to Europe for leisure but also for business travellers.
Flying with Qatar Airways from Paris offers one of the shortest journey times in the industry, which means flying to Qatar, Thailand, Bali, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Africa or even Australia and many other destinations, is faster to reach, factoring in one of the shortest international-to-international connecting times made possible by our state-of-the-art airport, Hamad International Airport in Doha.
As the Qatar Airways route map continues to grow in the Middle East, Africa and Asia regions, the airline will continue its commitment to offer French travellers with a vibrant mix of new holiday and business destinations, and emerging markets to explore.
Additional enhancements to the airline’s operations at Charles de Gaulle airport are expected to be announced soon.
4) Following the announcement of the comeback of Qatar Airways in Nice in 2017, it seems that Qatar Airways wishes to develop its flights from major French cities.
Could you tell us more about it and advise us how this would benefit both Qatar Airways and France?
As mentioned earlier, Qatar Airways has an established presence in France. Offering passengers additional gateways within the country is in line with our service commitment to provide convenient and flexible travel options.
Qatar Airways and SNCF are also partners, which gives the possibility to start a journey from 19 cities in France with a great flexibility and an interesting price. This partnership also allows visitors from all around our global network to use Paris as a gateway to reach these cities.
By flying to multiple gateways, it allows French passengers to connect from different regions and catchment areas (Brussels, Geneva, Barcelona…). An additional benefit is that holiday makers can combine multiple destinations within their travel journey.
The European continent makes up 25 per cent of the airline’s route map, and so it is a natural evolution to include additional French cities within our expansion plans.
5) Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport work with suppliers from all around the world. Do you have a special relationship with some French companies?
Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport employ a consortium of partners from all around the world.
A major contributor to Qatar Airways’ expansion plans is Airbus, of which the airline is a prominent customer since we operate every single type of Airbus aircraft: the A319, A320, A321, A330, A340, A350 and A380. We are also a customer of Thales for our in-flight entertainment that offers more than 3,000 programs onboard to all our customers;
We offer several French products onboard that are an essential part of the cuisine offering – from wines to chocolate, and we feature a number of French brands at Doha Hamad International Airport, including a lot of premium brands. ,
6) You have announced that Qatar Airways is working on a new Business Class product that is due to become the new reference in terms of quality.
Could you give our members an exclusive hint about it?
We are very excited about our Business Class concept. We cannot divulge any details at this time, but we can promise that you have never seen anything like it before.