Qatar Aviation Services General Aviation is the business, VIP, head-of-state and government ground handling division of Qatar Aviation Services. Senior Vice President Mehmet Murat Nursel told EVA a little about the organisation as it prepares for November’s World Cup
Beginning in Qatar on 30 November 2022, the FIFA World Cup will see an influx of business jets and private aircraft visiting the country, with requirements Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) General Aviation is fully equipped to satisfy. Established in 2000, QAS General Aviation provides premium end-to-end ground services to international airlines, heads of state, VIPs, private fleets and charter flights.
In the 12 months to August 2022, the company handled more than 4,700 private aviation movements, offering a range of services that includes provision of entry and landing permits, FBO Customs and immigration, ground handling, flight planning and weather briefing, crew transportation and accommodation, fuel, catering, hotel reservations, security and VIP transfers.
Mehmet Murat Nursel, SVP Ground Handling at Qatar Airways’ QAS and QAS General Aviation, says its focus is on delivering excellence. Staff training and a strong ethos are essential to meeting the required standard and he notes that the abilities to put the customer first and take pride in Qatar are among the most important attributes its personnel possess. The international QAS team is large and diverse, qualities that could easily cause friction and miscommunication, but instead are used to advantage.
Murat Nursel explains: “We have a workforce of 8,520 employees from 59 nationalities, including people from 35 countries based in Delhi, at our Central Load Control Office outstation – we plan to have a workforce of 10,200 before the start of the World Cup. Our staff is representative of people globally and we embrace this diversity as a blend of all that is good about travel, cultures, our employees and customers who cross paths during the many stages of the transactional process.”
The expansion in staff numbers comes as a welcome development after QAS was forced to lay off a small percentage of its staff at the height of the Covid crisis. Nursel says the organisation never stopped working, however, since it is part of the larger Qatar Airways group and the only ground handling agent in Doha. “Our biggest customer, Qatar Airways, flew throughout the Covid period to at least 30 destinations,” he recalls, “and we handled repatriation, medical support and cargo flights. Our cargo business actually increased, in terms of flight numbers and cargo volume, mainly comprising medical equipment and supplies, including vaccines, that were dispatched all over the world.
“Back to the present, the safety, security and good health of our passengers and employees are our highest priorities. We work closely with national and global authorities to follow the latest advice and implement appropriate Covid guidance.”
Sustainability has become a primary concern post-Covid and under Nursel’s leadership, QAS is working to become a leader in the field. As a first step, it became the first ground handler to gain membership of IATA’s Environmental Assessment Program (IEnvA), an evaluation system designed to independently assess and improve an airline’s environmental management. A company framework for sustainability is now the backdrop for impressive growth.
Nursel continues: “We defined human development, collaboration, customer relationships, business continuity, environmental protection and financial performance as the main pillars of QAS’s sustainability. Qatar has already hosted several events as well as preparing for the World Cup, and QAS and Hamad International Airport are both expanding as a result, in a process that will conclude before the tournament begins. Then, at the beginning of next year, QAS will consider its global expansion plans.
Considering the broader picture at home, the country’s National Vision is based on four central pillars (economic, social, human and environmental development) and aims to ‘transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development’. “QAS is working together with the state of Qatar, helping the country’s growth and development while providing the resources to address a range of environmental objectives, all aligned with the Qatar National Vision for 2030,” Nursel concludes.