Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker announced at the Aviation Club in London that the airline would introduce its B787 Dreamliner on its London Heathrow – Doha route from December. He also called on the British government to urgently address capacity constraints at London Heathrow to avoid a “catastrophic situation” for Britain’s economy.
Al Baker said the third runway debate “was not an option, but a necessity” to overcome the capacity crunch Heathrow is currently facing. “Heathrow is bursting at the seams and has already reached a critical point,” he said. “Already heading towards a double dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway would bring to the economy in south east England and the country as a whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities.
“No capacity increase will inevitably lead to further economic hardship with job losses and businesses closing down. Heathrow is already losing out to European neighbouring hubs that have the resource to expand capacity.”
Al Baker explained the growing importance of Gulf carriers and the dynamism they are bringing to the aviation industry with service excellence and a focused strategy. He said that recent industry developments showed that the world of aviation had woken up to the advent of Gulf carriers – Qatar Airways becoming a member of the Oneworld alliance, Emirates’ tie-up with Qantas, and Etihad’s partnership with Air France KLM.
Qatar Airways plans to introduce 15 new destinations next year, of which the airline has already announced three, including Chicago next April – its fifth North American gateway.