Qatar Airways, the state’s national airline began operations in 1994 as a small regional carrier. Following His Highness The Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s vision to promote it as a leading international airline, with emphasis on “highest standards of service and excellence”, it was relaunched in 1997 with a new face. At the time it had a fleet of four aircraft, and was already flying to India (Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram). In fact, Mumbai was the first city to which Qatar Airways started its operations in India, way back in 1994.
By the end of 2003, the airline had a fleet of 28 aircraft, and 50 by October 2006.
In 2003 it was the first airline in the industry to “pass the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit with a maximum 100 per cent compliance”. It was assessed on flight and ground operations, aircraft engineering, maintenance, operational security, cabin operations and management systems. It still holds the certificate that is renewed every two years.
Fast forward to April 2011: Qatar Airways flies to 100 destinations worldwide. On October 30, 2013, it joined oneworld — the first and only Gulf airline to date.
In 2014, it was the first airline to fly its passengers on the A350 aircraft. In the same year it launched the A380 on its Doha-London route.
In 2016, the carrier was officially, “the first airline in the world to operate every family of Airbus’ modern airliner portfolio”.
Today, Qatar Airways has a fleet of 192 aircraft — including six double decker A380-800 super jumbos, the largest aircraft in the world — flying to more than 150 destinations worldwide (before Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, the Maldives and Yemen cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017). Further, it has a pending delivery of more than 350 new aircraft, to be received over the next few years.
Currently, the airline is on its way to becoming the first to submit minute-by-minute tracking of its aircraft equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in 2018.