The aviation industry has become a cornerstone of the Qatari economy and has contributed significantly to the acceleration of economic growth through the creation of new jobs in sectors such as tourism, trade, and industry, said Essa Abdullah Al Maliki, Permanent Representative at Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to ICAO.
Essa Abdullah Al Maliki in an interview with International Airport Review magazine has further said that the civil aviation sector in Qatar is witnessing a significant leap forward and the industry is achieving continuous growth due to the concerted efforts of all stakeholders.
The interview was shared by the Permanent Mission of Qatar to ICAO on its official Twitter account.
On Hamad International Airport (HIA), Al Maliki said that HIA has become one of the best in the world in terms of efficiency, service and passenger comfort.
“The airport is now a major hub and served almost 35 million passengers in 2018 and over 155 million passengers since it opened in May 2014 to the end of 2018. It currently sees 222,000 annual movements. HIA has a 600,000 square meter passenger terminal and the largest maintenance hangar in the world. Ultimately, HIA is expected to be able to handle over 50 million passengers, 320,000 aircraft movements and two million tonnes of cargo annually.”
He said that Qatar Airways has won awards as the best in the world while HIA is rated consistently in the top five.
To a question about why Qatar is seeking election to the governing Council of ICAO, Al Maliki said: “As a member of ICAO since 1971, Qatar has decided to seek election to the Council for the first time under Part III.
Qatar is committed to the organization, its mission, objectives, and principles, which aim to provide safe, secure and sustainable development of international civil aviation, and the establishment of air transport services based on non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, and sound and economical operations. These principles have benefited Qatar and fellow ICAO member states, particularly small states for whom air transport provides essential connectivity to the world – a necessity for economic development.”
He added: “Over the past 30 years, Qatar has developed a comprehensive, strong and modern aviation sector. This has enabled Qatar to acquire the knowledge and experience to make a significant contribution to the governance of international civil aviation as a Council Member, and to help find solutions to the many challenges facing the sector.”
On Qatar and ICAO working together in the past, he said that Qatar collaborates with ICAO in numerous areas, including the field of aviation safety, security, and environment. “Representatives of Qatar participate in the Aviation Security (AVSEC) Panel, and five of its working groups. Recently, Qatar achieved the highest score on the ICAO Audit with a 99.1 percent compliance rate with respect to the ICAO security provisions. Qatar participates in capacity-building efforts through the cooperative Aviation Security Programme and Regional Aviation Security Forum, to help states strengthen compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices.”
Al Maliki further said that in June 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in collaboration with the cyber-security affairs sector of the Ministry of Transport and Communication, released ‘Aviation Cyber Security Guidelines’, which included principles and standards relating to securing critical aviation systems, in addition to best practices in electronic security in the field. “The issuance of these guidelines complies with ICAO recommendations that urge all member states to apply such standards and measures, and to continue cooperation and mutual support at national and global levels.”
On the Qatar-ICAO Developing Countries Programme, he said this is a program sponsored by the CAA and Qatar Aeronautical College which is ICAO certified. In 2018, Al Maliki said, the program offered five free scholarships for studies in a variety of aviation fields intended to augment the capabilities of developing countries to meet ICAO standards and the program will be renewed in 2019 to accept new students.
“Qatar has trained over 2,000 professionals from 80 countries and territories since 1986 and has awarded more than 400 fellowships over the past 20 years to professionals from developing states. Also, in 2018, Qatar hosted the fifth ICAO Global Training Symposium.”
To another question, Al Maliki said Qatar has made significant voluntary financial contributions to the ‘No Country Left Behind’ ICAO initiative, as well as other ICAO programs. “Qatar is one of the most active contributors to ICAO and a recent ICAO report has ranked it 18th among the countries that support ICAO the most,” Al Maliki said.