Al Baker: New Company to Manage HIA Could Acquire Stakes in International Airports

Auckland, New Zealand, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said that the decision to set up a new company to manage and operate Hamad International Airport (HIA), as an independent entity owned by the Qatar Airways Group, aims at managing HIA in an optimal way.

It also aims at acquiring stakes in international airports outside Qatar in the future when good investment opportunities are available, Al Baker added during a press conference in Auckland today.

Following the arrival of the airline's first flight to New Zealand, Al Baker took the opportunity to talk about the airline's expansion in the region and to express his pride in Qatar Airways' record achievement of the world's longest direct commercial flight.

Al Baker said: "We are proud to offer the people of New Zealand the best possible passenger experience when connecting to friends and family across the globe on board the world's longest commercial flight from Auckland to Doha. The new service will give passengers from New Zealand the opportunity to travel to the more than 150 destinations on our global network where they will arrive feeling more refreshed than ever before thanks to the modern technology and high level of personalised customer service on board." Qatar Airways is committed to bringing more visitors to Auckland and boosting tourism to the already popular destination of New Zealand with its new daily flights. The record-breaking route will also give the people of New Zealand the opportunity to connect to more than 150 destinations on the airline's global network via its hub, Hamad International Airport, in Doha.

Auckland Airport Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Littlewood, said: "The Qatar Airways service we welcomed to Auckland Airport yesterday will contribute around NZD $198 million to the New Zealand economy each year. The new service provides an exciting new option for visitors to New Zealand and for New Zealanders travelling overseas." In an statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the sidelines of the press conference, HE Qatar's non-resident Ambassador to New Zealand Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa said that the arrival of Qatar Airways' first flight to the city of Auckland will further boost commercial, cultural and intellectual exchange between Qatar and New Zealand and increase the number of tourists between them.

The addition of Auckland to the airline's constantly growing network comes on the back of its recent expansion in the region with the launch of new routes to Sydney and Adelaide in 2016. The airline will add to this again in 2017/18 when it plans to include Canberra on its list of gateways in Australasia.

Other new destination launches planned by the airline for 2017/18 including Yanbu and Tabuk in Saudi Arabia; Dublin in the Republic of Ireland; Nice in France; Skopje, the capital of Macedonia; Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand; Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina; Libreville, Gabon; Douala, Cameroon; Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Canberra, Australia; Medan, Indonesia; and Las Vegas, U.S.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was awarded World's Best Business Class; Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East at the prestigious 2016 World Airline Awards managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance. The award-winning alliance was named the World's Best Airline Alliance 2015 by Skytrax for the third year running. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Source: Qatar News Agency