Communications and Transport
Qatar is an important connecting link in the world telecommunications network. It has made remarkable progress in the fields of telecommunications, postal services, roads as well as sea ports and airports.
To strengthen this sector and make it more independent and effective the Ministry of Communications and Transport was dissolved and three Emiri decrees were issued to set up the Civil Aviation Authority, Customs and Ports Authority and Postal Services Authority.
Civil Aviation Authority
The Civil Aviation Authority has a legal status and a budget within the national budget of the State. It is affiliated to the Ministry of Works and Trade.It aims at promoting civil aviation and meteorological services to the highest possible levels. The Civil Aviation Authority undertakes the drawing up of the civil aviation policy and the plans needed to implement its objectives, implementation of international agreements and treaties in the field of civil aviation, strengthening of links with international organizations and foreign countries, supervision of the management and operation of Doha International Airport, undertaking air control tasks, supervision of foreign air transportation companies and monitoring them and investigating flight mishaps in addition to repairing and maintaining planes and verifying their compliance with the international standard specifications. It also supervises companies and issues licenses to them, as well as management, maintenance and development of air monitoring networks, seismological stations, provision of weather forecast services to those departments in charge of aviation and sea ports in Qatar. It also proposes draft laws pertaing to civil aviation and meteorological services and offering weather forecast services to air and sea navigation authorities in the country.
General Civil Aviation Authority consists of the following administrations:
1. Administration of Air Aviation
2. Administration of Aviation Safety.
3. Administration of Aviation and Airports Affairs.
4. Administration of Weather Forecast.
5. Administration of Joint Services.
Qatar Airways, which was established in 1994, is the national carrier of the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways' major achievements are reflected in its acquisition of giant aircraft and signing contracts with more than 52 international airways companies on passenger and freight exchange.
The corporation intends to expand its fleet to 110 planes by 2013 . Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350, 60 Boeing 787 and 32 Boeing 777. Qatar Airways was among the first clients of double-decker super jumbo Airbus 380 as it purchased 5 airplanes expected to be delivered in 2010.
Qatar Airways reaches more than 85 destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Australia. It consists of ancillary companies like International United Media Company, Doha International Airport, Qatar Corporation for Aviation, Qatar Corporation for Free Markets, Qatar Corporation for Distribution, Qatar Corporation for Aircraft Supplies and Qatar Corporation for Holidays.
Doha International Airport
Doha International Airport covers about 17094 sq. metres. The present runway is about 4575 metre long. Preparations are in full swing to accomplish the project of the new Doha Airport which is considered to be a legendary airport with a cost of 9 billion dollars in 2010 and a capacity of 24 millions annually. It contains 40 adjacent gates and 12 outside gates with a total area of 600.000m2.
The present airport is 4 k.m away from Doha and it is the first airport in the world which is designed and built to accommodate Airbus A380, the biggest passengers airplane ever. It is to be accomplished in three stages, the biggest of which will be finished in 2015.
Civil Aviation College
The Civil Aviation College was founded in 1977 in cooperation with UNDP and the International Civil Aviation Organization to serve the needs of civil aviation in the Arab Gulf countries.Qatar Aeronautics College reports to the Minister of Labor and it has a legal personality and its revenues come from the tuition fees paid by the students.
The college aims to prepare specialized technical staff in all aviation fields like planning and executing training programs and fostering relations with similar Arab, foreign and international colleges and bodies with view to helping it to realize its goals locally and abroad.
The college consists of the following administrative units: Public Relations and Communications Unit, Airplane Support Services department, Administration of Academic Affairs and Administration of Joint Services.
The Civil Aviation College has a legal status and a board of directors. The pilots training center owned by the State admits pilots from countries in the region as well as Arab and Asian companies in aircraft engineering, air control, meteorological forecasting as well as search and rescue courses.
Customs and Ports Authority
The Customs and Ports Authority aims to manage and upgrade the standard of services extended at customs offices, ports and land transport facilities and their operation. The Ports and Customs Authority is composed of the Ports and Customs Department, Customs Affairs Department, Department of Air and Land Customs Centres, Maritime Affairs and Transport Department and Administrative and Financial Affairs Department. The Customs and Ports Authority implements the laws and regulations relating to customs systems, ports and land transport affairs, supervision of all imported and exported goods through customs points in the country as well as regulation of movement of ships of all types, monitoring shipbuilding and platforms, sea facilities, shipping and sea transport companies, transport and sea services agencies, free zones, duty free markets, warehouses and prevention of customs evasion practices.
The State of Qatar has spared no effort to develop and expand its seaports and provide all necessary facilities there. The Ports and Sea Customs Department actively participates in international maritime activities as a member of the International Maritime Organization, Arab Academy for Maritime Transport and the International Association of Ports and Harbours.
The major seaports in Qatar equipped to receive giant ships are Doha Commercial Seaport, Mesaieed Commercial and Industrial Seaport and Ras Laffan Industrial Seaport.
Abu Samra Customs Centre
Abu Samra Customs Centre is Qatar's land gate at the Qatari-Saudi borders. It has all necessary facilities.
Qatar General Postal Corporation
The public sector took responsibility for the management of postal services in 1963. Since then the authorities have continued to upgrade this sector to keep pace with the development of vital services in the country.
Qpost collects and delivers various kinds of postal messages to all destinations by various means, levies and modifies postal fees, undertakes all postal services, sets up and maintains facilities needed for them. It also owns, manages and holds shares in and invests in existing companies. QGPC has 32 branch post offices in Doha and other cities.
Qatar telecommunications Corporation (Q-tel) is licensed by the Supreme Council of Information Technology and Telecommunications in Qatar to provide land and mobile telecommunications in the State of Qatar.
Since its establishment in 1978, Q-tel seeks to catch up with the developments in Qatar in different fields and it adheres to a solid strategy in operating, maintaining and developing wire and wireless telecommunications system. In 1998, the corporation was privatized when it was turned into incorporated company and 54% of its shares were put to public offering for both citizens and residents.
Q-tel invested 50 million US dollars in acquiring 10% of Al-Thuryya for Telecommunications Satellites Corporation, and expanded its public network to accommodate more than 2.750.000 lines converted from the analog to digital system. Q-tel's services extended in 17 countries with subscriptions mounting to 750.000 customers.
Q-tel also acquired 40.81% of the Indonesian Corporation (Indosat) and a license for Spectrum Communications from The Palestinian Ministry of Communications through Al-Wataniyya Corporation in addition to a license to operate land lines in Oman. Likewise, it signed a contract with Qatar Airways for long-term cooperation and a memorandum of understanding with San Miguel Corporation to set up a joint project to launch mobile, wireless broadband and Blackberry services in Qatar and operating them in addition to publicizing Wi-Max services in the region after establishing Wi-Tribe Group and launching wireless internet broadband services in Jordan for the first time.
Qatar is directly linked to more than 150 countries and destinations. It is also party to commercial agreements to serve international mobile telephony with 125 companies in 68 countries all over the world.
Ship-to-Shore Maritime Telecommunications Station
Opened in 1985, this station is used to transmit telephone and telex messages between land and ships on all seas and oceans as well securing radio communication between ships and the local telecommunication network using satellites.The station plays a vital role in securing marine safety and vessel navigation in Qatar's regional waters and it is considered to be a point of vital connection in the international system of navigation safety and emergency. It works around the clock incessantly in order to provide support and assistance for sailing vessels.
Vodafone Telecommunications Corporation
Vodafone and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development obtained the second license for mobile phones from the Supreme Council of Communications and Information Technology in Qatar in 2007. The capital of the company is divided between Qatar Foundation and Vodafone, owned by Vodafone Group in Europe, by a percentage of 51% and 49% respectively. The corporation made an initial public offering to 40% of its shares to Qatari nationals.
Vodafone's subscriptions mounted to more than 150.000 customers.
The two land satellite communications stations Doha 1 and Doha 2 continue to operate within the communications network linked to the satellites over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, while the third land station operating through the satellite Arabsat provides telephone and radio communications as well exchange of data and TV programs between Qatar and the Arab world. A new land station is being installed to keep pace with new developments in this field.
The new alternate station costing QR15m started to operate in 1999. The antenna of the land station operating with Intelsat over the Atlantic has been updated. The land wireless microwave system connecting Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been replaced by the fiber optic system using the analog system.
Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT)
The Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology was set up on the 3rd of August,2004 under the chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent, pursuant to a Decree Law No(36) of the year 2004, which stipulates that it shall have a corporate status and a budget affiliated to the general budget. The (SCICT) aims at creating an advanced knowledge-based society and developing the national strategic vision relating to both sectors of communications and information technology. The Chairman of the Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent, inaugurated the launching of the (SCICT) activities and programmes on 26 May, 2005.
The objectives of the (SCICT) include ,inter alia, the promotion of a knowledge-based economy, provision of services and education to all members of society, reactivation of all the other sectors through using technology, accommodation of all citizens in the political reforms through the provision of telecommunications accessibility to all members of society as well as allowing the various sectors of community to take part in the process of economic life.
The (SCICT) further aims to provide broadband access to the community at large and the use of information technology to create an advanced knowledge-based society that will improve the quality of life of citizens and will enhance the social and economic development of the country.