Private jet travel looks to be on the increase, especiall in the Middle East as Qatar Airways has today announced its corporate jet division, Qatar Executive, will add three new Bombardier aircraft to its fleet starting from later this month.
Forging ahead to meet the growing demand for business jet services from the Middle East and globally, Qatar Executive has swiftly taken measures to increase its fleet capacity to cater to the surge in private jet travel across the region and worldwide.
In the two years since Qatar Executive launched, it will double its all-Bombardier fleet to six aircraft by the end of August.
The incoming deliveries will include a Bombardier XRS in May, followed by a Challenger 605 in July, and a Global 5000 in August, the latter of which is the second delivery from an order for two Global 5000s announced at the Farnborough Air Show last July.
The Doha-based corporate jet operation began in 2009 with two Bombardier Challenger 605 aircraft. Last October a Global 5000 joined the fleet, which took the total fleet up to three aircraft.
Another significant boost to Qatar Executive’s operations is a dedicated 6,300 square metre hangar facility at Doha International Airport for maintenance operations. The facility is now open, and will provide services to other business aircraft operators as well.
The hangar features aircraft handling and dispatch services, aircraft cleaning, as well as passenger lounge facilities for visiting aircraft.
Qatar Executive was selected by Bombardier to become its second Approved Service Facility in the Middle East for the Challenger and Global aircraft.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker hailed the rapid growth of Qatar Executive as testament to the region’s burgeoning demand for corporate jet travel.
“When Qatar Executive first began, it was a successful operation right from the start. The travel patterns we witnessed from the onset were indicative of the pent-up demand for tailor-made and completely customised travel. It immediately became obvious that we were filling a gap in a market which has grown rapidly, particularly in the Middle East region,” he said.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) reported that the Middle East region’s business and VIP aircraft fleet swelled from approximately 200 in 2000 to almost 450 aircraft by 2009, representing annual growth of almost 13 percent.
According to the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) the number of private aircraft operated in the Arab World will increase from 450 today to 1,300 by 2020 with the addition of more than 800 units over the next 10 years.
Added Al Baker:
“The statistics clearly show that the private travel segment is continuing to grow – along with air traffic demand overall.”
“The Qatar Executive product is unique and offers boundless travel options – a proposition which is highly suited for private traffic and corporations which have requirements such as combining multiple stops, travelling to remote locations, or landing at airports without scheduled commercial service,” he said, speaking at Arabian Travel Market, a leading travel show taking place in Dubai this week.
Qatar Executive’s corporate jets can operate non-stop to anywhere in Europe, as well as most places in Asia and Africa. In addition, each jet can reach North America with a fuel stop in Europe.
The personalised service for passengers includes the convenience of booking an aircraft in as little as four hours before departure, access to premium lounges, and check-in 10 minutes prior to take off.
The corporate jet division has leveraged Qatar Airways’ relentless attention to detail and focus on service, which have been the hallmarks to its success as a Five Star carrier, one of only seven in the world, and the only one in the Middle East.
Qatar Airways was voted third best airline in the world in 2010 following the annual Skytrax survey of 18 million international passengers. In the survey, the airline was also voted as having the Best Business Class Catering in the world, as well as being honoured as the Best Airline in The Middle East for the fifth consecutive year.
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 97 aircraft, flying to 100 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and North & South America.
Key features of the new Qatar Executive aircraft:
All of the Qatar Executive aircraft feature luxurious seating and interiors, and have full galleys capable of serving a variety of multi-course meals together with hot and cold beverages. Entertainment and communications options vary by aircraft type and features include iPod docking stations, satellite telephone, high-speed internet and printer capabilities.
Bombardier XRS – expected delivery May 2011
The Bombardier XRS features a two cabin configuration, which seats up to 13 passengers. including seats which convert into fully flat beds. With a flying speed of up to 950km per hour, and nautical range of up to 6,150 miles, the aircraft is capable of flying virtually anywhere to many intercontinental destinations non-stop from Doha.
Bombardier 605 – expected delivery July 2011
The Bombardier Challenger 605 can accommodate 12 passengers comfortably and is equipped with a full galley, two 21” monitors with dedicated DVD player, CD surround sound, with a satellite telephone and internet system
Bombardier Global 5000 – expected delivery August 2011
Qatar Executive’s largest jet, the ultra-long Global 5000 has 13 seats and a comfortable two cabin configuration – forward cabin with 4 seats and a four place conference table. The rear cabin has two single seats, three person divan and private aft lavatory. The aircraft is similarly equipped with large monitors, surround sound and communications equipment.