Mar. 25, 2015


Badr Al Meer

Qatar

Badr Al Meer

COO, Hamad International Airport (HIA)

BIO

Badr Al Meer was appointed Hamad International Airport COO in June 2014. Prior to his appointment, he held the position of Acting CEO at the United Development Company (UDC), which was the master developer of The Pearl-Qatar. Al Meer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from the American University of Beirut.

How would you evaluate the inaugural period of operations at the new airport?

Since the opening of HIA in May 2014, the feedback has been excellent, not only in comparison to the old airport, but also in comparison to other facilities worldwide. During the IATA Summit, which was held in Doha in June 2014, we also had a positive response from the delegates who attended—this is invaluable feedback from leading experts in the international aviation industry. The unique mix of retail and F&B, which covers 40,000 sqm, has also received a positive reaction from passengers passing through HIA. There are currently more than 70 retail outlets open offering an unprecedented selection of designer labels, electronics, gourmet foods, and much more. Leading global fashion brands including Burberry, Bulgari, Hermès, Giorgio Armani, and Tiffany & Co. can all be found under one roof at HIA. The airport is also home to the Middle East's first branch of Harrods. To complement the five-star shopping at HIA, more than 30 cafés and restaurants offer dining options to suit the palate of every traveler. One of the most successful areas of HIA is the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, which caters for Qatar Airways premium passengers. The stylish 10,000-sqm lounge offers guests a relaxing and comfortable environment to enjoy before they fly.

How is the airport anticipating and preparing for this continuous growth of goods coming into Qatar?

Qatar Airways Cargo is already ranked among the top cargo operators in the world, and this will only continue thanks to the sophisticated cargo terminal now in operation at HIA. The new technology and automated systems that have been introduced in the cargo area at HIA have enabled us to increase the capacity, which now stands at 1.4 million tons a year. With the continuing growth of Qatar Airways Cargo, this will expand to 2.8 million tons a year, making it one of the largest cargo terminals in the world. Qatar Airways Cargo already serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its new hub in Doha and also delivers freight to 146 key business and leisure destinations globally on 146 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes five Airbus 330 and seven Boeing 777 freighters. At the Dubai Airshow 2013, Qatar Airways placed a firm order for five new Airbus A330-200 freighters. Also included in the order were eight additional A330-200F options, for a total of 13 aircraft. At the recent Farnborough Show, Qatar Airways announced its intent to order four 777 freighters and options for four more.

What is the influence of world-class infrastructure on attracting foreign investors to Qatar?

The vision for 2030 is designed to change Qatar's dependency on oil and gas and upgrade the country's utilities and infrastructure, making it more attractive to foreign investors. The Qatari government understands the importance and the benefit of investment in utilities and infrastructure, as well as the significance of our geographical location. Ideally positioned at the global crossroads of east and west, north and south, Qatar has the opportunity to become an international hub connecting the world, and HIA is one of the key elements contributing to the improvements in infrastructure that will help secure Qatar's position as a major player on the global market.

How do you look at the national trajectory toward achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030?

There will be challenges to achieve the targets set for 2030, however with the support of the government and with hard work, we will overcome these challenges. We have to get to the vision step by step and we have to be realistic. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a significant milestone on the pathway towards achieving the 2030 vision. I am confident that Qatar will deliver on its promise to organize the best tournament possible and reflect our success in meeting the challenges that face us as we strive to achieve the vision that His Highness has for 2030.

ADVERTISEMENT