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Ajay Jacob, Country Manager of Qatar Airway

How is the airline performing in 2019 and what are your targets for next year?
The Southeast Asian market is an important and strong one for Qatar Airways and it has been performing well with strong double-digit growth, so I’m happy to say we’re doing well and hope to continue to do so.

Qatar Airways as a whole is also performing well. In fact, we’ve once again won the much-coveted Skytrax World Best Airline 2019 award this year. Qatar Airways made aviation history as we are the only airline in the world that has won this highly prestigious award five times. On top of that, during this year’s award, we also won World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Seat and Best Airline in the Middle East.

What is the strategy for the airline to boost tourism to your home country?
On top of providing the best service and inflight experience, having an extensive network is one of Qatar Airways’ strengths. We currently fly to over 160 destinations across 6 continents with excellent connectivity via Doha. This means Qatar Airways can bring the rest of the world to Indonesia via Doha while connecting our Indonesia customers to myriad destinations.

How do you improve the travel experience for the modern airline customer?
Qatar Airway’s edge is in our innovative DNA and commitment to bringing the best inflight experience to our customers. Qatar Airways’ new QSuite Business Class is a perfect example where we pushed the boundary of business class offering and created a very premium business cabin with individual suites. It’s been very well received and the fact that we won the Skytrax World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best Business Class Seat is proof that we’re doing something right.

Also, apart from the premium cabin, Qatar Airways are striving to enhance our economy class to ensure we’re a 5-star airline in all aspects. We unveiled an enhanced Economy Class earlier this year, with an innovative 19-degree recline system, additional legroom, dual trays, 13.3-inch 4 K widescreens and type ‘C’ fast-charging USB port.

What do you expect to deliver from the experience of business and first-class customers?
The Qatar Airways five-star experience starts from the moment passengers book tickets and carries through all passenger touchpoints from the check-in process, both on-ground and inflight experience, and all the way till arrival. Thus, our passenger-first approach means attention to detail at every step of the way as each passenger touchpoint is equally important.

We are particularly strong in the Business Class segment with the award-winning Qatar Airways QSuite Business Class. We call it a “First in Business Class” as it has revolutionized Business Class travel by incorporating many features found only in First Class such as the individual suite with privacy, the double-bed, on-demand dining, etc.

Regionally, is there enough cooperation between countries to support the increased demand for air travel?
Travel to and from South East Asia is projected to grow every year for the next 20 years as passenger demand is stimulated with expanding routes. The Single Aviation Market and Seamless ASEAN Sky, therefore, bring opportunities.

In 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the European Union and SEA started working together for Competitive, safer and more sustainable aviation. Challenges and opportunities were discussed at the first ICAO –European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) forum on civil aviation in South East Asia. Since regional cooperation is essential both ICAO and EASA implement several aviation safety programs allowing for the integration and harmonization of rules and standards in safety, air traffic management and climate change reduction from airline emissions

Is the environment an issue for your airline?
The environmental issues are something the entire airline industry faces in general and not exclusive to only Qatar Airways. However, Qatar Airways is committed to the sustainable aviation industry. Our environmental management system is certified to the highest level of IATA’s Environmental Assessment programme (IEnvA).

If you could change one thing about aviation in general, what would it be and why?
It would be the single token travel and self-service. Single token travel, facial recognition technologies, biometrics – whichever name you choose for the discussion will have a huge impact on future travel.