Can you give us an overview of your achievements and milestones over the last 10 years?
Qatar Executive was established 10 years ago and started its operations with a small aircraft, the Challenger 300, which was then superseded by the larger Challenger 605. It was a logical step as there was a lot of VIP travel locally and within the region that required this kind of transportation; however, with an order for 30 Gulfstream aircraft in 2015, we were catapulted into a new dimension. At present, we are flying the Gulfstream 650 ER, the largest, fastest, and most comfortable business jet. It is the crown jewel of our fleet. Notably, we were the first customer of the Gulfstream 500, and we received three of them in 2018. One exciting achievement for Qatar Executive in 2019 was when we made history with the One More Orbit team by beating the world circumnavigation speed record for any aircraft flying over the north and south poles. This huge accomplishment took place on a QE G650ER jet.
How did the blockade impact your business?
The blockade has been an interesting time for us. Not only has it re-directed our focus to outside the GCC, it has also presented opportunities for growth. This change in strategy forced us to rethink flight patterns as well, because there is still certain airspace that we are cut off from, which means we are taking a longer time to get to certain areas. However, because we have adopted the approach of leaving every charter where it lands, our fleet is spread across the world in an efficient way. We are able to use this dispersed fleet to better serve our markets. This is, interestingly, something we likely would have done anyway, because markets like Asia have the greatest potential. There has been a shift away from buying personal aircraft in some parts of the world, which presents opportunities for the charter jet business.
What are the main routes that you have developed?
The Asian Pacific, Russian, European, and African markets are all important. We have launched new sales offices in each of these markets in order to capture business there. We are putting boots on the ground so that we are closer to the clients. Operationally, we have gone through quite a transformation over the last two years and are working to make ourselves stronger and more functional. We are dedicated to crafting a new level of luxury.
What benefits will VIPs get from flying with the new aircraft you recently added to your fleet?
The first benefit is that they are flying in an extremely high-performance aircraft. At such a high altitude, it is highly important to create an environment within the cabin that is pleasurable for the passenger. As an example, the cabin altitude in our new Gulfstream aircraft when the aircraft is flying at 45,000ft is 4,200ft. This increased pressure means that when a passenger arrives at their destination, they feel far less tired. For a passenger who flies frequently, as many of our passengers do, this makes a huge difference in their overall health and wellbeing. Our passengers can take comfort in knowing that their personal schedule is being adhered to. We offer a great deal of flexibility and comfort by providing 24/7 expert flight support from pre-flight coordination to executive ground handling, catering, and landing permits.
What are the main challenges that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will present to the private aviation sector?
Since matches will occur in the same place but at different times of the day, traffic and congestion will increase. For perspective, on the first day of the World Cup in Russia, more than 650 business jet movements were registered. After the final, it was more than 750. We have to be ready to handle this volume of traffic as efficiently as possible. It will be a challenge, but one we will be well-prepared for.