ALL EYES ON THE BIG STAGE

Qatar 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Mowasalat, Qatar's biggest transport provider, is gearing up to cater to the large influx of tourists for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Khalid Nasser Al Hail
BIOGRAPHY
Khalid Nasser Al Hail began his career after graduating from the University of Bridgeport in the US with a BSc in Accounting and receiving his CPA from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. His professional career spans over 25 years with various senior roles, including senior internal auditor and manager of the management accounting department at Qatar Petroleum, as well as CEO at Al Ijarah Holding, before he joined Mowasalat as managing director and CEO. In addition, Al Hail is a member of several professional national and regional committees such as Pearl Shell GTL Accounting, Dolphin Accounting, Al Shaheen Management, and AL Khalej 1 & 2 Project Tender Committee.

As a transport provider, how is Mowasalat handling the growth in passenger traffic in the country?

I joined the company in 2013, when it introduced technology to enable huge increases in passenger traffic. We have the physical and virtual tools. The former, for example, are human capital, assets, buses, and taxis, whereas the latter are the applications, including the real-time bus application. This gives users all the information about the buses, such as when they arrive and when they depart. For taxis, our app has a meter that measures the price of the ride and shows a phone number to call if there are any problems. At present, we have four private franchise operators using our taxis. They operate the same models of vehicles with the same turquoise color, but can be distinguished by their different roof-top colors.

Qatar is promoting itself abroad as a friendly country for tourists. How do you work to improve the tourism experience?

We have several agreements with Hamad International Airport and the Qatar National Tourism Council to provide our taxi services in places such as the ports. Our taxis and buses transport tourists from cruise ships to their excursions, and over the recent years, we have witnessed the increasing importance of cruise tourism. In the near future, there are many opportunities for us in the tourism sector, the number one being the FIFA World Cup 2022. Notably, Mowasalat will provide transport services to spectators and players. The upcoming World Cup is a major event for the country, and we are going to be there with top-notch support logistics throughout the entire tournament. We are expecting more than 1 million tourists. Keeping that in mind, we will dedicate 2,500 buses for spectators. At Mowasalt, environmental concerns are taken seriously, and in that sense, the company is increasing the number of CNG and electric buses in operation.

The opening of the Doha Metro is in 2019. How are you coordinating to provide a comprehensive transport system?

We have agreements with Qatar Rail to provide them with feeder buses, which will transfer passengers to and from metro stations. We are experiencing different approaches, such as conventional taxis, for example. We will have 50 feeder buses running when the metro opens, and these buses will operate around the clock. We will also have some minivans to help passengers reach points of interests in the most practical way.

What are the priorities for the company in 2019 and beyond?

The outlook for 2019 looks positive, although we have many challenges. The whole country and the companies working on the 2022 FIFA World Cup are working on how to transport spectators, because all of us want to avoid unexpected incidents; we are planning the best possible ways to reduce risks. Qatar is secure compared to other parts of the world, which is a positive aspect. In the future, the government wants Mowasalat to do an IPO, but that depends on how the company progress in the near future. We will see where future progress is being made and make a decision based on business and profitability. The school transport business is our main driver for growth, and with new schools opening in the country, we have good prospects for this business line, which will be decisive for the IPO. We transfer 60,600 students every day using 2,160 buses, and remarkably, our numbers are growing every year.