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Welcome to The Moodie Report Interim Qatar Bureau at the Oryx Rotana in Doha.
It’s just turned 8.30a.m. and it’s already about 40 degrees outside. As you can see, Doha is a giant construction site, reflecting Qatar’s sustained rise as an economic powerhouse of the Middle East and the world.
I’m here to get my first view of the new Hamad International Airport, open for just a few weeks but already set to earn a reputation as one of the world’s great gateways.
Already I’ve had a very quick look at the elegant new Arrivals stores (above) and in an hour or so I’m meeting the driving force behind the project, the irrepressible, unstoppable human dynamo that is H.E. Akbar Al Baker (below), Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer. Interviewing him is always great fun. He’s insightful, articulate, candid and hugely media savvy.
Later on I’ll take a walk of the airport’s commercial facilities with Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter, who has worked tirelessly with his team over recent months to create a shopping and food & beverage experience that they believe will be unrivaled in the airport world over time.
After some excellent hospitality in the Qatar Airways lounge at London Heathrow Airport (above), I flew through the night on the all-business class Qatar Airways A319 (below). What a smooth little beauty this aircraft is. More of both experiences later, I’ve got to run – I have an airport to catch.