Companies in the US are seen as “vital partners” in the development of sustainable technologies as part of Qatar Airways’ focus on sustainability, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said.
Speaking at the recently held ‘US-Qatar Business Programme’ virtual meeting hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, al-Baker said the airline’s priority is to have as little impact on the environment as possible and to facilitate continued global travel and commerce, while limiting carbon emissions.
During the event, US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for Middle East Affairs Khush Choksy and Greta Holtz, chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Qatar, welcomed al-Baker on behalf of the US business community and US government.
They commended Qatar Airways for its active partnerships with US companies and the work it has done to help Americans get home during the pandemic.
Al-Baker spoke of the strong relationship that Qatar and Qatar Airways enjoys with the US, acknowledging that many US companies have worked extensively with Qatar Airways and helped it become one of the leading airlines in the world.
The strong collaboration between Qatar Airways and US carriers has helped create thousands of jobs and provided Qatar Airways with the most modern and fuel-efficient fleet among legacy carriers.
Qatar Airways has over 10 direct routes to the US, recently opening its 11th destination gateway in Seattle and announcing the relaunch of its flight to Atlanta this June. Qatar Airways was the only airline to open a new route during the pandemic.
By the end of the year, it expects as many as 14 direct routes to the US, which will only serve to open more connections between the US and Qatar as international travel picks up post-pandemic.
Aviation was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic, and al-Baker said he does not see the industry fully recovering until 2024. Despite this, Qatar Airways has continued its passenger and cargo services with very limited interruption.
To ensure the safety of its passengers, Qatar Airways has implemented stringent safety and hygiene measures. As a result, the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax awarded the first global airlines five-star safety rating to Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways has also sought to help those suffering during the pandemic by offering 100,000 tickets to people stranded abroad so they could return home safely. It also provided tickets to teachers and healthcare workers to ensure their essential work could continue during the pandemic.
The airline also partnered with a number of charities to donate almost 200 tonnes of food and other essential supplies to Lebanon and Sudan and ship them on Qatar Airways Cargo.
The virtual event was part of the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Qatar Business Culture Series during the 2021 Qatar-US Year of Culture; the series aims to celebrate the business cultural ties shared by the US and Qatar.
The meeting ended with a panel discussion with several companies that have worked closely with Qatar Airways, including Jim Currier, president, EMEAI Aftermarket at Honeywell Aerospace; Aziz Koleilat, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Eastern Europe, CIS, Russia, Middle East and Turkey at GE Aviation; Omar Arekat, vice president of Boeing’s Commercial Sales and Marketing for Middle East, Africa and Turkey; and moderator Steve Lutes, vice president for Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce.
The panellists spoke of their extensive work with Qatar Airways, praising the supportive ecosystem provided by the airline and its ability to navigate through the current crisis. During his earlier remarks, al-Akbar also highlighted the work of each company and the invaluable partnership and technology each has provided to contribute to Qatar Airways' success.