Faisal Abdulhameed al-Mudahka/ Editor-in-Chief
The invention of the hot air balloon in the 18th century gave wings to the indomitable human desire to fly. Since that time, revolutionary technological advancements have transformed the way human beings move from place to place. Though initially a prerogative of the rich, flying has now become accessible and affordable to almost all people the world over. It is a major form of cargo transport as well.
Today aviation enables the free movement of people and goods around the globe. It helps people live better lives and is a catalyst for development.
It plays a unique role in connecting business to markets, uniting family and friends, discovering new cultures and lands, bringing people together to solve problems, building understanding and developing global insights.
This year alone the global airline industry will transport 3.78bn passengers and 52.7mn tonnes of cargo, according to IATA, the global body of airlines.
Better economic prosperity across the globe, especially in emerging Asia means more people are now able to fly.
The global air transport sector supports 65.5mn jobs and $2.7tn in global economic activity, according to new research released by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
The direct contribution of travel and tourism to Qatar’s GDP was nearly QR20bn, 3.3% of the country’s total GDP in 2017, which according to World Travel & Tourism Council may rise by 8.7% annually to QR44.9bn in the 2018-2028 period.
Over the last 20 years, the national carrier Qatar Airways has been one of the aviation industry’s biggest success stories.
Following the illegal blockade on Qatar, the national airline provided a “lifeline through Qatar Airways Cargo” by maintaining critical medical, food and manufacturing supplies to the country.
Qatar Airways Cargo, which is the world’s second largest cargo operator now, has seen its revenue making impressive growth of 34.4% in fiscal 2018. The airline lifted nearly 1.36mn tonnes of cargo in fiscal 2018, Qatar Airways figures show.
Qatar Airways has more than 300 aircraft worth more than $90bn on order, including planes from both the leading manufacturers- Boeing and Airbus.
Qatar’s international five-star gateway, Hamad International Airport (HIA) handled 34,212,750 passengers and 211,658 aircraft movements from April 2017 to March 2018.
Usually, national airlines and airports significantly contribute to the local economy of the country. Singapore Airlines contributes about 6% of the city state's GDP.
Qatar Airways, which is now a global connector, can significantly enhance the local economy in the coming years.
Keeping in mind the huge importance of this vital sector and the interests of the large number of air passengers, Gulf Times is introducing a weekly "Aviation" page in the Business section. Bon voyage!
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