Qatar Airways to have shuttle flights with Saudia, other GCC airlines for World Cup, CEO says

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Updated 21 June 2022

Qatar Airways to have shuttle flights with Saudia, other GCC airlines for World Cup, CEO says

Qatar Airways to have shuttle flights with Saudia, other GCC airlines for World Cup, CEO says

DOHA: Qatar Airways is seeking partnership with other Gulf Airlines, including Saudia, to increase the flow of football fans to Doha as Qatar is preparing to host the World Cup in November.

Akbar Al-Baker, Qatar Airways Group CEO, told Arab News during the International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting in Doha that the airline has tied up with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudia to connect match ticket holders to Doha. 

The airlines to provide “Match Day Shuttle” flights for 24-hour experiences, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, he added.

“We want to encourage other airlines to come here and bring capacity. You know, as an airline, we won’t singularly be able to bring all the capacity required to bring the fans for the World Cup,” Al-Baker said.

“The landscape of this tournament gives us the opportunity to spread the business with various regional airlines. Our combined bandwidth with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudia will create travel flexibility that will bridge cultures and give fans the chance to explore multiple places in the Middle-East,” he continued.

Qatar Airways is one of the most profitable airlines in the world. 

It has recorded $1.54 billion in profit during the 2021-22 fiscal year – the highest net profit among all airlines around the globe that have published their financial results for the 2021-22 financial year.

FASTFACT

Match Day Shuttle

The airline has tied up with flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air and Saudia to connect match ticket holders to Doha via Match Day Shuttle flights for 24-hour experiences, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Post-COVID challenges

As IATA predicted that freight revenue generated by carriers this year would fall by 6.4 percent, Al-Baker added: “There will be a downturn in business, and when there is a downturn in business, people don’t buy stuff that we normally carry as cargo.”

With capacity able to meet current demand, a drop in bookings will create downward pressure on yields when the recession starts, he said.

Al-Baker further said that labour shortages will be another big challenge in the coming months, though he added that his airline is “inundated with job applications”. 

“People got into a bad habit of working from home,” he pointed out.

“They feel they don’t need to go to an industry that really needs hands-on people," he said, adding shortages in airport staff could hurt growth.

Qatar Airways wants to restore flights to Hong Kong but it's still under COVID-19 restrictions, Al-Baker said. 

“Hong Kong is a very important market for aviation. It’s a big hub, and I hope that the authorities will reconsider. You know, now you have to live with COVID.”

Al-Baker also stressed the importance of the Latin American market stating that Qatar Airways is planning to fly to Mexico but is facing legal issues.

Airbus dispute

He also talked about Qatar Airways’ legal dispute with Airbus over flaws with the protective skin of A350 wide-body jets, saying: “We are always open to constructively resolve issues. But we cannot accept somebody not following a contract they have signed with us.”

In an unprecedented London court battle, Qatar Airways is pursuing Airbus for more than $1 billion in damages, with the value of the carrier's claim rising by $4 million per day.

Qatar Airways, supported by its own national regulator, which has ordered the jets out of service as the problem appears, insists that the safety impact cannot be properly understood until Airbus provides deeper analysis.

Airbus is in discussions with Qatar Airways to try to resolve the bitter legal and safety dispute over the A350 passenger jet, the planemaker's chief executive said on Sunday.

"There's progress in the sense that we are communicating; we are working with each other," Guillaume Faury told Reuters on the sidelines of the IATA meeting in Doha. "I think we share the view that a settlement would be a better way forward, but as long as you don't have an agreement, you have no agreement."

Sustainable fuel use

Speaking about the industry’s net-zero 2050 target, Al-Baker said it would be a difficult target for airlines to achieve.

It is going to be “very challenging”, he said, adding that other stakeholders in the industry, including engine makers and oil companies, would need to contribute to the goal.


Saudi Aramco launches research hub to help hit net-zero emissions by 2050

Saudi Aramco launches research hub to help hit net-zero emissions by 2050
Updated 16 sec ago

Saudi Aramco launches research hub to help hit net-zero emissions by 2050

Saudi Aramco launches research hub to help hit net-zero emissions by 2050

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has launched a new research center to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy solutions using advanced analytics as the oil giant moves ahead with hitting its net-zero ambition. 

Inaugurated today at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the Aramco Research Center will deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop ways to advance low-carbon solutions and enable a circular carbon economy, a press release said.

“The Aramco Research Center at KAUST offers a unique opportunity to strengthen our collaboration with KAUST and accelerate the development of cutting-edge technologies that will contribute to a low-carbon future,” Chief Technology Officer Ahmad Al-Khowaiter said. 

He added that the research at this new facility will help the company meet its obligations to customers and energy consumers worldwide, while also supporting its ambition of reaching operational net-zero emissions by 2050. 

This comes after the world’s biggest oil exporter released its first sustainability report earlier this month, pledging to reduce its upstream carbon intensity by at least 15 percent to 8.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide by 2035.

With the establishment of the research center, Aramco looks to leverage on KAUST’s capabilities in areas such as super-computing and data analytics.


Saudi industrial sector investments reach $361bn in April

Saudi industrial sector investments reach $361bn in April
Updated 16 min 16 sec ago

Saudi industrial sector investments reach $361bn in April

Saudi industrial sector investments reach $361bn in April

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector investments reached SR1.35 trillion ($361 billion) in April 2022, according to the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.

The number of valid licenses stood at 2,126, including 1,359 for building materials quarries, 559 for exploration, 164 for exploitation, 29 for reconnaissance and 15 for surplus ore, Argaam reported.

During January to April 2022, the ministry issued 302 mining licenses, including 26 for building materials quarries, 21 for exploration, one for reconnaissance and 13 for surplus ore.


Cybersecurity industry expected to hit $300bn by 2024, study shows

Cybersecurity industry expected to hit $300bn by 2024, study shows
Updated 21 min 55 sec ago

Cybersecurity industry expected to hit $300bn by 2024, study shows

Cybersecurity industry expected to hit $300bn by 2024, study shows

RIYADH: The cybersecurity industry is expected to grow by more than double to hit $300 billion by 2024, according to a study by Global Market Insights.  

By 2026, the cybersecurity market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $2.89 billion and register a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 percent between 2021 and 2026. 

Saudi Arabia’s cybersecurity market is predicted to increase to over SR21 billion ($5.5 billion) by 2023, according to a statement. 

The Middle East is moving rapidly toward adopting transformative digital technologies to enable economic diversification.


Saudia makes 30% more seats available to meet rising summer demand

Saudia makes 30% more seats available to meet rising summer demand
Updated 24 min 15 sec ago

Saudia makes 30% more seats available to meet rising summer demand

Saudia makes 30% more seats available to meet rising summer demand

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Airlines, known as Saudia, is planning to provide 6.5 million seats on 30,000 flights during July and August as it prepares to meet the growing demand of this year’s summer season. 

As of June 30th, the carrier will be offering 765,600 seats weekly — a 30 percent increase over last year’s summer, according to a statement. 

Saudia will operate 3,500 flights every week, linking the Kingdom with a regular flight network as it flies to four continents. 

The summer plan also includes measures to meet the necessary requirements such as maintenance, catering and ground services on time, it said.


India In-Focus — Shares rise; Minister says Indian economy to touch $30tln in next 30 years

India In-Focus — Shares rise; Minister says Indian economy to touch $30tln in next 30 years
Updated 27 min 7 sec ago

India In-Focus — Shares rise; Minister says Indian economy to touch $30tln in next 30 years

India In-Focus — Shares rise; Minister says Indian economy to touch $30tln in next 30 years

MUMBAI: Indian shares rose on Monday to their highest in more than two weeks, with technology and metal stocks leading the gains as easing oil prices tempered inflation fears.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.2 percent to 15,887.15, as of 0500 GMT, and the S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.16 percent to 53,340.36, leaving it on track for a third straight session of gains.

Welspun Corp. jumped 4.8 percent after the steel products maker said it got orders worth 6 billion rupees ($76 million).

Gaming platform Nazara Technologies surged 7.1 percent to its highest in nearly seven weeks after it said it would buy a stake in sports media company Absolute Sports.

Indian economy to touch $30 trillion in next 30 years

Piyush Goyal, the Central Minister for Commerce and Industry said that the Indian economy will touch $30 trillion in the next 30 years. 

According to the minister, if India grows at 8 percent every year on a compounded annual growth basis, the economy will double in about nine years, Financial Express reported. 

The minister also predicted that the country’s economy will reach $6.5 trillion from $3.2 trillion today in the next nine years. 

“Eighteen years from now, we will be about $13 trillion economy. And then another nine years after that, that is 27 years from now, we will be a $26 trillion economy… Then obviously, 30 years from today, confidently we can all expect that the Indian economy will be a $30 trillion economy,” said the minister. 

(With inputs from Reuters)