Qatar Airways (Doha) on January 7 launched its first new route of 2013 with the introduction of scheduled services to Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Doha – Gassim route is being operated by Airbus A320 aircraft featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in First Class and 132 in Economy.
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch scheduled flights to a number of destinations including Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chengdu, China (March 19); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).
Qatar Airways has also announced a capacity increase to daily scheduled services on the Doha – Warsaw route, effective February 1.
The current four-times-a-week service is scheduled to move to a daily operation less than two months after the launch of flights to Poland’s capital city.
One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 116 aircraft to 123 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.
In other news, on January 9, Qatar Petroleum (QP), Qatar Airways and Shell celebrated the first commercial introduction of a new aviation jet fuel – the first to be approved globally in over two decades. The innovative GTL Jet Fuel blended with Synthetic Parafinic Kerosene from the world’s largest Gas to Liquids plant – Pearl GTL in Qatar – is now flowing into fuel tanks at Doha International Airport.
An Airbus A340-600, flight QR 001 will make history by being the first to fly outbound from Doha International Airport, en route to London Heathrow using GTL Jet Fuel.
This is a significant milestone for the giant onshore Pearl GTL complex, which is jointly developed by QP and Shell and is the largest energy project in Qatar. Fully approved for use as an aviation fuel, GTL Jet Fuel is a blend of up to 50% GTL Synthetic Parafinic Kerosene (SPK) meeting the stringent requirements of ASTM-D-7566 and conventional crude oil-derived standard jet fuel (Jet A-1).
This product launch also marks the attainment of the highest stage of the so-called Fuel Readiness Level scale in the rigorous certification and qualification process of Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Parafinic Kerosene blends with conventional Jet A-1 and creates a true ‘Drop In’ alternative fuel meeting the latest DEF STAN and ASTM international aviation standards.
As an alternative to conventional crude oil-derived jet fuel, GTL Jet Fuel can help diversify the aviation fuel supply chain and offers a number of attractive benefits for airlines and airports. The synthetic blend component – GTL kerosene – contains virtually zero Sulphur and has been shown to produce lower particulate emissions (very fine soot particles) than conventional crude oil-derived jet fuel. This means that once blended with conventional jet fuel to create GTL Jet Fuel, it can be attractive to airlines and airport authorities keen to improve local air quality at busy airports by reducing local emissions. GTL kerosene also has a higher energy density than conventional oil-based kerosene. This has the potential to reduce the engine maintenance requirements and the required fuel payload and aircraft may be able to better optimise the weight of fuel to cover the same distance.
GTL Jet Fuel from Pearl GTL plant is marketed by “Tasweeq” for use solely within Qatar. The first production cargo of GTL Jet Fuel left the Pearl GTL Plant on December 17, 2012 and will be first used in this inaugural flight departing Doha International Airport on January 9.
Shell is the largest foreign investor in Qatar investing up to $21 billion in the last 6 years. Qatar Petroleum and Shell delivered two of the largest energy projects in the world in Ras Laffan Industrial City. Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) is the world’s largest GTL plant and cements Qatar’s position as the GTL capital of the world. At an investment of $ 18 – 19 billion it is the largest single investment in the Shell Group’s global portfolio.
The Qatargas 4 Liquefied Natural Gas project (QP (70%) and Shell (30%)) combines Shell’s global leadership in LNG with Qatar’s position as the world’s largest LNG supplier.
Shell has established a world-class research and development facility and a learning centre, the Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre, at the Qatar Science & Technology Park. Shell has a financial commitment to invest up to $100 million on programmes at the Centre over a 10-year period.
In 2010, Shell and PetroChina signed an agreement with QP to explore in the pre-Khuff interval in Block D. In December 2011 Shell and QP signed a HOA to jointly develop a world-class petrochemicals complex in Ras Laffan Industrial City.
In other news for the company, a Qatar Airways-flown A320 has made the carrier the world’s first to operate an aircraft into the Nepalese capital’s Tribhuvan International Airport within the Himalayan mountain range using a new navigation approach.
The milestone flight took place with the Doha-based airline’s A320 performing an RNP-AR (Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required) approach to landing. RNP-AR enables an aircraft to automatically fly accurate trajectories without relying on ground-based navigation aids, while also optimising airspace utilisation and reducing diversions in difficult weather conditions.
Located in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport has one of the world’s most complicated landing approaches due to surrounding challenging terrain at its location in the Himalayas. Flying an RNP-AR approach considerably reduces pilots’ workload and allows them to take full benefit of the advanced navigation equipment installed in the Airbus A320 to easily circumnavigate difficult terrain.
Qatar Airways partnered with Quovadis, the Airbus-owned flight operations services company, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to design and implement the Kathmandu RNP-AR procedure.
Qatar’s New Doha International Airport will be renamed Hamad International Airport when the much delayed hub for Qatar Airways finally opens in the second half of 2013 according to article below. Qatar Airways will be the operator of the new airport which will allow the airline to expand operations.
Read the full report from ConstructionWeekOnline.com: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Paul Denton. Airbus A320-232 A7-AHL (msn 4802) prepares to land at Dubai (other photos by Qatar Airways).
Finally, Qatar Airways has grounded its Boeing 787s but remains confident that the problems can be overcome. Watch the video interview by The Telegraph on a 787 flight from Doha to London: