Qatar launches business charter challenge
Qatar Airways will launch an assault on the on-demand charter market this year with a fleet of Bombardier business jets.
The corporate jet division, to be formally launched at the show today, will be a profit centre, says the airline's chief executive Akbar Al Baker. "We are launching this with three Bombardier aircraft: a Challenger 300, which is already operating, and two new Challenger 605s."
The new arm, Qatar Executive, will launch in the autumn operating from the airline's Doha base. It will operate to anywhere within around 8h flying time from its base, meaning that it can serve European destinations.
Although the sector has been affected by the global downturn, the business aviation charter market in the Gulf has grown exponentially in the past few years. Leading operators include Royal Jet, Prestige Jet and Falcon Aviation in Abu Dhabi, with Dubai also home to dozens of aircraft management specialists. While Saudi Arabia is the region's biggest market, demand for business aviation is also growing in countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.
Qatar Airways is responsible for the operation of the country's Amiri Flight royal fleet, which includes the Challenger 300 that will be deployed to the new charter business, as well as a Bombardier Global Express and several Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The Challenger 605s are due for delivery in the coming weeks.