Aer Rianta International Middle East Managing Director John Sutcliffe says that while the company's duty free management contract in partnership with Qatar Duty Free at Doha Airport expires next May, ARIME remains hopeful that its
services will be retained for a third term.
‘The only thing that I can say is that we haven't yet discussed the issue. Our contracts are due to finish there next May and we haven't yet discussed the matter fully. We are now into our second term there with Qatar Airways and we have had a fantastic time together and we have seen the business grow from a small $2m business turnover to what is now the second largest business in the Gulf after Dubai.
‘That is mainly down to the fantastic job which the government has done there and Akbar Al Baker in particular with Qatar Airways in developing the facilities. I mean if you know Qatar for what it was and from what it is now then you can see that Doha International Airport is just unrecognizable and there is also a brand new airport in a different location on the way. He is a very dynamic individual.
‘There are also continual new routes that come with the expansion of the airline and there are new aircraft coming in, so this is all building up the traffic. What happened in Dubai all those years ago is what is happening in Doha now.
‘We will sit down over the next couple of months and discuss what will happen after our current contract expires to see if we are involved and we hope that we will be involved in some form or another, but we will have to wait and see as to what Qatar Airways want to do – they haven't decided yet.’