The CEO discussed the impact of supply constraints on the industry and advises competitors to focus on sustainability. However, it is still far ahead.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said he is sceptical about the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, citing the potential issues with the hydrogen project and vapour emissions at high altitudes.
“Everybody is talking about it. But let us be realistic. There is not enough production of sustainable deviation fuel. The hydrogen project is in its infancy, people also don’t know what the hydrogen fuel will generate when it is flying at high altitudes,” the official said during a panel discussion at the Qatar Economic Forum in Lusail on Tuesday.
The panel drew prominent aviation executives to share insights on navigating the post-Covid world, cultivating a more sustainable industry, and maintaining robust revenues and profits.
It shed light on the strategies employed by industry leaders in this challenging era, including the shortage of fuel-efficient jets, which causes supply constraints due to the high demand for travel.
Moderated by Francine Lacqua, a respected anchor from Bloomberg Television, the talk also featured David L. Calhoun, President & CEO of The Boeing Company.
‘We need to be realistic’
At the panel, Al-Baker shared valuable perspectives from Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines.
The CEO discussed the impact of supply constraints on the industry and advised competitors to focus on sustainability. He, however, said that achieving zero emissions is not an easy job, and will take decades to ensure its safety in action.
Despite this people will still depend on aviation to travel, he emphasised, because it plays a crucial part in business, leisure, trade, and even economic development. In his opinion, there’s no other alternative than airplanes.
“I know that in one of the climate conferences, this Finnish young girl wanted to prove to the world that they don’t need airplanes and that they can use a boat and she arrived at this conference in a boat,” he said, addressing the attendees.
“But where did she start the journey of the boat? And how did she get there? The majority of the distance she covered was by airplane because she couldn’t come to that distance by boat in the time she wanted to be there,” adding that people need to be realistic about this whole scenario of sustainable flight.
With Qatar Airways at the forefront of innovation, the aviation official shared his insights on the airline’s strategy to adapt and thrive in the wake of the global pandemic.
Meanwhile, David L. Calhoun, a highly influential figure in the aerospace industry, provided an authoritative voice from The Boeing Company.
As President & CEO, Calhoun has been instrumental in steering the renowned aviation giant through the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.
During the panel discussion, Calhoun highlighted Boeing’s commitment to sustainability and outlined the steps being taken to reduce the industry’s environmental impact.
“The only significant contributor by way of change in technology is sustainable emission fuel,” he said during the discussion.
“That’s the only thing that moves the needle between now and then there will be advanced technologies, hydrogen included that have a reasonable chance of delivering sustainable aviation in the second half of this century.”
The panelists engaged in thought-provoking discussions, exploring key topics such as the path to recovery for the aviation industry, the adoption of sustainable practices, and the pursuit of long-term profitability.
They emphasised the importance of collaboration, innovation, and agility to address the changing dynamics of the post-Covid world.
Qatar 2023 Economic Forum
The Qatar Economic Forum 2023 is an influential platform that brings together global leaders, policymakers, and industry experts to discuss pressing issues and shape the future of various sectors.
With its focus on sustainability, innovation, and economic growth, the forum serves as a catalyst for collaboration and ideation, enabling participants to devise actionable strategies for a brighter tomorrow.
The panel discussion titled “The Latest from 30,000 Feet” provided a compelling start to the forum, offering attendees valuable insights and sparking conversations on the future of aviation.