Boycott dents Qatar’s ambition to become global aviation hub

A passenger at the check-in area in the Hamad International Airport, Doha. (File photo: AP)

Qatar’s ambition with regard to dominating the skies and hosting a top global hub for aviation has gone in vain. In the light of the political stance against Doha and its hostility to its nearest neighbors, what would become of Hamad International Airport?

Qatar did not plan to build Hamad International Airport with its 41 gates for its 2 million residents. It was mainly built for transit passengers who make up 90 percent of the passengers transiting through the airport.

Over the past years, Qatar has done everything necessary to transform Doha into a global air transport terminal, constructing a vast airport, a huge fleet but overlooked what’s most important - to be neighborly. 

Simple model 

Qatar Airways has built its success in the aviation market on a simple model. Flights in every direction, to the Americas, Europe and the Far East and most importantly the dozens of flights that pass daily via Saudi Arabia and the UAE, apart from the bus trips from Dammam.

Qatar Airways earns 30 percent of its revenues from those two neighboring countries, according to CAPA estimates.

Qatar Airways has been the largest non-domestic carrier in UAE airports until last Sunday.

With the absence of the UAE and Saudi Arabia on the map of nearby destinations, many seats will be vacant as flights depart to distant destinations.

The reality of the regional geography places Qatar within the airspace of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Those who choose to fight with its kin must be satisfied with passing through the Iranian skies as the only gateway to the world, but that comes with a high price.

The trip to Sao Paulo, for example, takes two more hours to reach going around Saudi and UAE airspace.

According to aviation experts, more flight hours means fewer bookings.

Qatar has chosen the toughest and longest route, and aviation may only be an example of narrow choices and poor routes to Doha.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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