(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Qatar's plans to increase air passenger traffic and extend its reach across a broad range of untapped destinations was a key topic of discussion at a meeting held recently between Abdullah bin Nasser Turki Al Subaey (pictured), Chairman of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA), and a team from Oxford Business Group (OBG).
OBG's representatives met Al-Subaey as work began on The Report: Qatar 2017, the global research and consultancy firm's forthcoming publication on the country's economy.
The Chairman of the QCAA was confident on Qatar's ability to add to the eight air transport agreements (ATAs) already signed this year, which have given the country access to several markets for the first time, including key destinations across Latin America and the Balkans.
'Despite recent challenges, we have high expectations for the rest of 2017, he told OBG's team. 'Looking further down the road, we expect to sign more ATAs to continue expanding our reach.
Other subjects explored at the meeting included the expansion planned for Hamad International Airport, which forms a key part of Qatar's preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and broader economic diversification efforts. Al-Subaey told OBG's team that the design for the project, which will enable the airport to accommodate up to 53m passengers annually, is expected to commence in the coming months.
The major role earmarked for the national carrier, Qatar Airways, as a driver of growth was another topic of conversation.
Al Subaey said the QCAA planned to step up support for the airline as it adds new routes to its list of destinations served and moves to increase passenger numbers.
He also highlighted the authority's decision to update its meteorological system, in line with wider plans to invest in new technology. The benefits of opening a new office in Montreal under the International Civil Aviation Organisation were also on the agenda.
'These positive developments, many of which are generating more opportunities for Qatar Airways, indicate a bright outlook, the QCAA Chairman said.
The Report: Qatar 2017 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.
The publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities. The report will be available in print and online.