ATM: Qatar Airways sets sights on space flights

Flying people into space could be a goal for Qatar Airways in the next 10 years,according to chief executive Akbar Al Baker.

Speaking at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai Al Baker refused to rule out the possibility on the basis that he is “always moving the goal posts.”

He added: “10 years ago I said we would not expand our fleet beyond 35 planes and we would not fly to more than 35 destinations. e now have more than twice that number of both and are aiming to hit 120 destinations.

“There is still a way to go before we reach 120 and we are taking it step by step – if when that is done there is enough of a demand from people wanting to fly to space I will carry them.”

Al Baker also revealed the airline’s intention to expand into the hotel market.

It has already built one hotel in Doha which will be managed by Rotana for the time being but this will not be the last.

Al Baker explained: “We don’t do anything as a one off, it was always the plan to have more hotels.

“We are building another and are looking at aquisitions in our main destinations to give people the chance to fy with us and stay with us.

“For now the hotels will be managed for us but once we have learned management techniques from them we will take over.”

The airline is also ready to launch a budget airline at a moments notice, Al Baker said, should cirumstances require it.

He explained: “As long as we have the market share we want I will not be launching a low cost carrier.

“I hope it will not be eroded and therefore that it won’t be necessary,but if we need to we have a plane already ready, we have a name and a logo and can do so in a very short period.”

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