Rising power

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Qatar is emerging as a rising power of the Arabian Peninsula and the country is making every effort to make the world watch what it achieves.

Doha’s swanky new Hamad International Airport (HIA) is a vital element of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which sets out the roadmap for a unique national transition from reliance on petrochemical revenues to a diverse, knowledge-based economy. The airport sets new standards in the aviation industry, airport architecture, passenger experience and cargo movement. Doha having already been a host to several global events, the country is rebranding itself as a nation promising an exponential increase in the country’s capacity to handle international movements of people, goods, capital, knowledge and technology. Qatar, host for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becomes the first Arab country to host such a sporting event. “HIA was not only built with the FIFA World Cup 2022 in mind, but was also designed to support and sustain Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Qatar is rapidly becoming one of the world’s developing business and travel destinations, as well as a key transit hub for many passengers due to the country’s location on the world map and the superior service it offers,” said Badr Al Meer, COO, HIA. HIA currently has the capacity for 30 million passengers per year and that will grow to 50 million when it is fully completed. “The airport is continually working to provide passengers with a world-class experience. For many passengers HIA is their first impression of Qatar,” added Al Meer. Recently Jeffrey Johnson, CEO, Boeing Middle East said, Qatar is a vital market for Boeing in the whole of the Middle East region. With Qatar’s fast growing aviation sector and Qatar Airways’ ambitious expansion plan, the Gulf state has emerged as an important partner for the US-based aircraft manufacturer. During a recent meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar Johnson presented the latest trends in the aviation industry and the role of the Qatari market in its exponential growth. Analysts say Doha, like its Gulf neighbors, understands the power and potential of aviation to provide a stable long-term industry in the region. "There's a recognition by the (Qatari) government that aviation plays a wider economic role which doesn't only directly support jobs," said John Strickland, director of aviation analytics firm JLS Consulting in a recent report. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Etihad and the other Middle Eastern carriers are currently gaining more passengers than any other region. From the official opening of HIAin April 2014 to September 2014 HIA has had more than 13 million passengers through the airport, and the cargo facility handled 410,211,545 tonnes of cargo. “This represents a year-on-year growth of over 11 percent for every single month since the airport opened,” explained Al Meer. On the cargo front too, the airport has been recording positive numbers. “Our cargo figures have grown approximately 14 percent year-on-year with the opening of our state-of-the-art cargo facilities earlier this year, as Qatar Airways Cargo completed the transition from a manually handed cargo environment, to a fully automated terminal. Qatar Airways Cargo carries a large number of highly specialised and delicate goods such as famous art paintings, equestrian horses, high net worth sports vehicles and much more,” said Al Meer. The move of all operations to HIA not only enabled passenger capacity to increase, but also facilitated the growth of cargo operations from a dedicated and fully automated terminal. Qatar Airways Cargo now serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide and also delivers freight to all 145 Qatar Airways business and leisure destinations around the globe. 

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