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Interview: Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar Al Baker

Bisnis Indonesia Talks to The Head of the World's Fastest Growing Airlines During His Recent Visit to Bali.

(4/28/2007) The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia interviewed Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways during his March 28, 2007 visit to Bali to launch the four-times-a-week service to the Island. balidiscovery.com is pleased to provide its translation of that interview conducted by Bisnis Indonesia's John A. Oktaveri.

Bisnis Indonesia: Why has Qatar Airways open a new route to Bali?

Al Baker: As a destination for foreign tourists - primarily from the Middle East, Europe and Africa – we have seen a continual growth in air traffic. This holiday island has also elevated its status as a business center, becoming the second most important business center in Indonesia.

Bisnis Indonesia: What is your future business plan following your entry to Bali in 2007 and after your start of service to Jakarta in 2001?

Al Baker: For the first phase, we plan to fly (to Bali) four times a week. But, Qatar Airways will soon increase this to a daily service.

The third goal we are currently pursuing is Surabaya, as well as looking at other cities which we cannot yet specifically mention. We are also holding discussions with local airlines like Garuda as well as a number of hotels for future cooperation of mutual benefit.

Bisnis Indonesia: What are your targets in Indonesia now that you've opened this new route?

Al Baker: Frankly, I can’t explain to you how big the passenger target for passengers on Qatar Airways actually is. What's clear, Qatar Airways will continue to pursue an aggressive expansion in pace with our average growth of 35% per year. In addition to tourist, we will also target Indonesian overseas workers and business people in line with the growing commercial connections between Indonesia and the Middle East. We are also transiting via Kuala Lumpur in order to utilize existing capacity.

Bisnis Indonesia: What makes Qatar Airways different from it competitors also flying to Indonesia?

Al Baker: Qatar Airways is one of four airlines in the world that has earned a five-star rating for service and excellence. This has been awarded by Skytrax – an independent observer of the international airline industry who has rated us as a young airline recording phenomenal growth. This achievement is proof that we are able to sustain five-star service.

Bisnis Indonesia: What are Qatar Airways' plans for global route expansion?

Al Baker: After Bali as our 75th destination, we will also fly to Ho Chi Minh City as part of our plans to add 7 new destinations in the current year. The five other destinations are: Chennai, Geneva, New York, Washington, D.C., and Stockholm. Washington and New York represent our first entry into the U.S. market.

Related Story:

[5 Star Welcome to Bali for 5 Star Qatar Airways]