Interview

Rossen Dimitrov, Qatar Airways

Mr Dimitrov! Thank you for this conversation. You are the head of the largest and most responsible division at Qatar Airways, you are the CEO of Customer Experience. What does your position mean and what is your personal contribution to the vision and service on board the airline?

As Chief Officer Customer Experience for Qatar Airways, I oversee many of the elements within the airline that create an unsurpassed travel experience for our customers – both on the ground and in the air. This includes our contact centre that supports our customers with bookings before they fly, our five-star cabin crew who serve our customers’ every possible need on board, the premium lounges that we operate at Hamad International Airport in Doha and around the world, as well as our customer care team that provides post-flight support for passengers.

My team is also responsible for other elements that define the on board experience, including the design of our industry-leading aircraft interiors and food and beverage offerings, our award-winning inflight entertainment, as well as our product and service development that ensures Qatar Airways continuously remains at the top of the industry as the World’s Best Airline.

At Qatar Airways, we don’t believe in compromise and my primary mandate is to elevate the passenger journey from end to end – pursuing excellence in innovation, detail and design to deliver a best-in-class experience for our customers.

How did your professional journey start at Qatar Airways? Do you remember your first day on the job and the ambition with which you entered the airline? What did you tell yourself then?

My journey with Qatar Airways began ten years ago in 2012 when I joined the airline as Vice President Customer Experience. It has been an unforgettable experience to grow together with the airline, having since served as Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Advisor to our Group Chief Executive and now as Chief Officer Customer Experience.

I vividly recall those early days and knowing that I was a part of something truly remarkable at Qatar Airways, under the leadership of our Group Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. This is a man of extraordinary vision who challenges the status quo to revolutionise the way people experience air travel, and I felt honoured to be a part of Qatar Airways’ journey to become the World’s Best Airline.

Qatar Airways has established itself as a 5-star airline, but could you point out what are the biggest benefits for your passengers that make them want to travel with you again and again?

Like the airline, passengers that travel with Qatar Airways appreciate the finer things in life; they care about the small attention to detail which the airline upholds when designing its cabins and providing its services.

When developing the iconic Qsuite and Business Class Suite, our inspiration has always been to deliver an elegant but understated product that surpasses expectations and befits the quintessential standards that Qatar Airways is renowned for. Our cabins set the stage for a serene journey where passengers can relax and unwind, knowing that all of their needs will be met with our award-winning services.

Since the launch of Qsuite six years ago, we knew that it was a ground-breaking design in the airline industry; it set a new standard in redefining the expectations that a passenger has when flying in a Business Class seat.

Qsuite is a product that suits all passenger types, where solo travellers can experience a tranquil and private journey with our enclosing doors, families can rest and take comfort with their children sleeping next to them in our adjoining beds, and business travellers can transform their space into a social area and hold a meeting at 40,000ft when travelling in our 4-seat quad suite.

We redefined travelling together. When passengers fly with Qatar Airways, they can expect a memorable journey that will start their travels with an unforgettable experience.

Until now, Qatar's airport has been a stopover for many Bulgarian tourists, but today the country and especially the capital Doha have seen huge investment to become one of the new and desirable destinations. Why should Bulgarians rediscover Qatar?

Qatar Airways has long been proud to serve as an airline of choice for Bulgarians, whether travelling for business or leisure via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport in Doha. As the world emerges from the global pandemic and borders reopen, there has never been a better time for Bulgarians to discover Qatar and experience the country’s incredible offerings – all within a 5-hour flight on Qatar Airways’ non-stop services between Sofia and Doha.

Qatar is where cultural authenticity meets modernity; where the sand meets the sea; where people come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment.

Visitors are spoiled for choice, with a range of attractions from museums and galleries, markets, sports, desert safaris by the spectacular Inland Sea or the UNESCO-listed Al Zubarah Fort.

The country also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with a large number of museums and galleries showcasing the country’s history along with contemporary art. Qatar is a land that offers unique experiences and captivating landscapes. It’s a land that truly inspires with its unparalleled food scene, rich cultural heritage, luxurious treats, and cutting-edge architecture.

I am confident that Bulgarians will be inspired as they explore Qatar and unfold its wide selection of offerings.

Qatar Airways today employs many Bulgarians, what positions do they hold?

With more than 36,000 employees and over 160 nationalities, it is Qatar Airways’ people who, despite the challenges of the pandemic, have maintained the airline as the industry’s leading international air carrier. Bulgarians are proudly represented at all levels of the organisation – ranging from critical operational roles to C-Level executive management. And, of course, the award-winning service that has earned Qatar Airways the accolade of Airline of the Year by Skytrax is delivered by a cosmopolitan flight and cabin crew, including Bulgarian nationals who have a strong tradition of serving the airline.

Qatar is hosting the World Cup in 2022. What are the expectations of your airline, is it ready and how will it respond to the great interest that visitors are expected to have in the destination?

As the Official Partner and Official Airline of the greatest football event on earth, Qatar Airways looks forward to welcoming fans from around the world on board our flights, where they can experience the airline’s five-star hospitality.

A massive surge in passenger demand is expected as a result of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, as the country prepares to welcome over one million visitors to Qatar.

Qatar Airways is implementing various strategies to maximize capacity and ensure that the airline’s product and hospitality can be enjoyed by as many fans as possible during this period. These strategies include increasing capacity to countries which have qualified for the tournament, as well as those countries where football fans are likely to travel to Qatar for the FIFA event.

Qatar Airways understands the power of sport in bringing people together in the spirit of friendly competition and all of us at the airline are incredibly proud to be a part of this iconic tournament in our home country of the State of Qatar.

You recently celebrated 10 years of air connection between Sofia and Doha? What are your forecasts for this flight, what do the preliminary estimates and future plans indicate?

2021 was a special year for Qatar Airways as the airline marked a milestone in its history with Bulgaria, celebrating 10 successful years since its first flight between Doha and Sofia Airport on 14 September 2011. We have been proud as an airline to serve Bulgaria and connect this beautiful country with our global route network.

Over the years we have witnessed the benefits of Qatar Airways’ services to Bulgaria that extend well beyond the airline’s mission of bringing people together. Our flights have enabled travellers from around the world to experience Bulgaria’s hospitality and cultural history while supporting the export of Bulgarian products to overseas markets.

It is a testament to both strong demand and Qatar Airways’ deep commitment to Bulgaria that the airline recommenced non-stop flights between Doha and Sofia on 16 December 2021. These non-stop flights are one of Qatar Airways’ greatest success stories, providing Bulgarians with a superior choice to experience the more than 140 destinations that we fly to around the world via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport. Whether visiting the Middle East for business or enjoying a vacation in the Maldives, Seychelles or Tanzania, our valued Bulgarian passengers can rely on Qatar Airways to deliver an unforgettable five-star travel experience with the highest possible level of health and safety standards.

At the same time, Qatar Airways’ reinstated non-stop flights make it even easier for travellers from around the world to visit Bulgaria – a truly unique country that has something to offer for everyone. With Qatar Airways’ seamless connectivity, our passengers can more readily experience Bulgaria’s breathtaking nature, ancient culture, healing mineral water springs, stunning ski slopes and the magnificent Black Sea shore.

Qatar Airways’ industry-leading customer experience continues to be recognised as world-class for the excellence we deliver on each and every flight and we look forward to welcoming Bulgarians on board.

What are the next projects you are working on today and will you try to impress your colleagues in the airline industry again?

Qatar Airways prides itself on customer experience and will always pursue excellence at every touchpoint of the passenger journey. Your vacation should begin at takeoff, not touchdown, and Qatar Airways is committed to providing passengers with an unparalleled travel experience.

For many years, Qatar Airways has redefined levels of comfort and service throughout the entire customer experience. This is evident in Qatar Airways’ award-winning track record including being the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title six times.

As we embark on a new era of aviation, we will continue to innovate, by streamlining processes, developing our people, radically rethinking the way we use technology and putting the customer experience at the core of everything we do. Whether passengers are checking-in, dining in the lounge or relaxing on board their flight, regardless of their class of travel, we are determined to create memorable experiences that stay with them well after they travel.

Now more than ever, we need to bring the joy back to travel through every step of the customer journey, including enticing the world to stopover and visit Qatar. Through industry leading interiors, award-winning service and innovative customer experience concepts, we are reinvigorating our passengers’ excitement to fly with us once again.

Stay tuned for more to come on the latest industry-leading innovations on board Qatar Airways.

I have saved a question about Bulgaria for the end. What do you feel when you hear this word, as you have been living and working abroad for many years. What are your memories?

When I hear the word ‘Bulgaria’ I immediately think about beauty; the beauty of the Bulgarian people and the beauty of the country itself – from the Black Sea shores to the stunning mountains and healing mineral water springs. I feel quite fortunate to have two countries that have always felt like home for me. Of course, my personal and professional upbringing in Canada shaped much of who I am today, but at the same time, I have always been proud of my Bulgarian heritage and the memories this incredible country has provided me over the years. While I now find myself honoured to also call Doha home, I know that Bulgaria will always hold a special place in my heart.

My team is also responsible for other elements that define the on board experience, including the design of our industry-leading aircraft interiors and food and beverage offerings, our award-winning inflight entertainment, as well as our product and service development that ensures Qatar Airways continuously remains at the top of the industry as the World’s Best Airline.

At Qatar Airways, we don’t believe in compromise and my primary mandate is to elevate the passenger journey from end to end – pursuing excellence in innovation, detail and design to deliver a best-in-class experience for our customers.

How did your professional journey start at Qatar Airways? Do you remember your first day on the job and the ambition with which you entered the airline? What did you tell yourself then?

My journey with Qatar Airways began ten years ago in 2012 when I joined the airline as Vice President Customer Experience. It has been an unforgettable experience to grow together with the airline, having since served as Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Advisor to our Group Chief Executive and now as Chief Officer Customer Experience.

I vividly recall those early days and knowing that I was a part of something truly remarkable at Qatar Airways, under the leadership of our Group Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. This is a man of extraordinary vision who challenges the status quo to revolutionise the way people experience air travel, and I felt honoured to be a part of Qatar Airways’ journey to become the World’s Best Airline.

Qatar Airways has established itself as a 5-star airline, but could you point out what are the biggest benefits for your passengers that make them want to travel with you again and again?

Like the airline, passengers that travel with Qatar Airways appreciate the finer things in life; they care about the small attention to detail which the airline upholds when designing its cabins and providing its services.

When developing the iconic Qsuite and Business Class Suite, our inspiration has always been to deliver an elegant but understated product that surpasses expectations and befits the quintessential standards that Qatar Airways is renowned for. Our cabins set the stage for a serene journey where passengers can relax and unwind, knowing that all of their needs will be met with our award-winning services.

Since the launch of Qsuite six years ago, we knew that it was a ground-breaking design in the airline industry; it set a new standard in redefining the expectations that a passenger has when flying in a Business Class seat.

Qsuite is a product that suits all passenger types, where solo travellers can experience a tranquil and private journey with our enclosing doors, families can rest and take comfort with their children sleeping next to them in our adjoining beds, and business travellers can transform their space into a social area and hold a meeting at 40,000ft when travelling in our 4-seat quad suite.

We redefined travelling together. When passengers fly with Qatar Airways, they can expect a memorable journey that will start their travels with an unforgettable experience.

Until now, Qatar's airport has been a stopover for many Bulgarian tourists, but today the country and especially the capital Doha have seen huge investment to become one of the new and desirable destinations. Why should Bulgarians rediscover Qatar?

Qatar Airways has long been proud to serve as an airline of choice for Bulgarians, whether travelling for business or leisure via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport in Doha. As the world emerges from the global pandemic and borders reopen, there has never been a better time for Bulgarians to discover Qatar and experience the country’s incredible offerings – all within a 5-hour flight on Qatar Airways’ non-stop services between Sofia and Doha.

Qatar is where cultural authenticity meets modernity; where the sand meets the sea; where people come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment.

Visitors are spoiled for choice, with a range of attractions from museums and galleries, markets, sports, desert safaris by the spectacular Inland Sea or the UNESCO-listed Al Zubarah Fort.

The country also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with a large number of museums and galleries showcasing the country’s history along with contemporary art. Qatar is a land that offers unique experiences and captivating landscapes. It’s a land that truly inspires with its unparalleled food scene, rich cultural heritage, luxurious treats, and cutting-edge architecture.

I am confident that Bulgarians will be inspired as they explore Qatar and unfold its wide selection of offerings.

Qatar Airways today employs many Bulgarians, what positions do they hold?

With more than 36,000 employees and over 160 nationalities, it is Qatar Airways’ people who, despite the challenges of the pandemic, have maintained the airline as the industry’s leading international air carrier. Bulgarians are proudly represented at all levels of the organisation – ranging from critical operational roles to C-Level executive management. And, of course, the award-winning service that has earned Qatar Airways the accolade of Airline of the Year by Skytrax is delivered by a cosmopolitan flight and cabin crew, including Bulgarian nationals who have a strong tradition of serving the airline.

Qatar is hosting the World Cup in 2022. What are the expectations of your airline, is it ready and how will it respond to the great interest that visitors are expected to have in the destination?

As the Official Partner and Official Airline of the greatest football event on earth, Qatar Airways looks forward to welcoming fans from around the world on board our flights, where they can experience the airline’s five-star hospitality.

A massive surge in passenger demand is expected as a result of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, as the country prepares to welcome over one million visitors to Qatar.

Qatar Airways is implementing various strategies to maximize capacity and ensure that the airline’s product and hospitality can be enjoyed by as many fans as possible during this period. These strategies include increasing capacity to countries which have qualified for the tournament, as well as those countries where football fans are likely to travel to Qatar for the FIFA event.

Qatar Airways understands the power of sport in bringing people together in the spirit of friendly competition and all of us at the airline are incredibly proud to be a part of this iconic tournament in our home country of the State of Qatar.

You recently celebrated 10 years of air connection between Sofia and Doha? What are your forecasts for this flight, what do the preliminary estimates and future plans indicate?

2021 was a special year for Qatar Airways as the airline marked a milestone in its history with Bulgaria, celebrating 10 successful years since its first flight between Doha and Sofia Airport on 14 September 2011. We have been proud as an airline to serve Bulgaria and connect this beautiful country with our global route network.

Over the years we have witnessed the benefits of Qatar Airways’ services to Bulgaria that extend well beyond the airline’s mission of bringing people together. Our flights have enabled travellers from around the world to experience Bulgaria’s hospitality and cultural history while supporting the export of Bulgarian products to overseas markets.

It is a testament to both strong demand and Qatar Airways’ deep commitment to Bulgaria that the airline recommenced non-stop flights between Doha and Sofia on 16 December 2021. These non-stop flights are one of Qatar Airways’ greatest success stories, providing Bulgarians with a superior choice to experience the more than 140 destinations that we fly to around the world via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport. Whether visiting the Middle East for business or enjoying a vacation in the Maldives, Seychelles or Tanzania, our valued Bulgarian passengers can rely on Qatar Airways to deliver an unforgettable five-star travel experience with the highest possible level of health and safety standards.

At the same time, Qatar Airways’ reinstated non-stop flights make it even easier for travellers from around the world to visit Bulgaria – a truly unique country that has something to offer for everyone. With Qatar Airways’ seamless connectivity, our passengers can more readily experience Bulgaria’s breathtaking nature, ancient culture, healing mineral water springs, stunning ski slopes and the magnificent Black Sea shore.

Qatar Airways’ industry-leading customer experience continues to be recognised as world-class for the excellence we deliver on each and every flight and we look forward to welcoming Bulgarians on board.

What are the next projects you are working on today and will you try to impress your colleagues in the airline industry again?

Qatar Airways prides itself on customer experience and will always pursue excellence at every touchpoint of the passenger journey. Your vacation should begin at takeoff, not touchdown, and Qatar Airways is committed to providing passengers with an unparalleled travel experience.

For many years, Qatar Airways has redefined levels of comfort and service throughout the entire customer experience. This is evident in Qatar Airways’ award-winning track record including being the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title six times.

As we embark on a new era of aviation, we will continue to innovate, by streamlining processes, developing our people, radically rethinking the way we use technology and putting the customer experience at the core of everything we do. Whether passengers are checking-in, dining in the lounge or relaxing on board their flight, regardless of their class of travel, we are determined to create memorable experiences that stay with them well after they travel.

Now more than ever, we need to bring the joy back to travel through every step of the customer journey, including enticing the world to stopover and visit Qatar. Through industry leading interiors, award-winning service and innovative customer experience concepts, we are reinvigorating our passengers’ excitement to fly with us once again.

Stay tuned for more to come on the latest industry-leading innovations on board Qatar Airways.

I have saved a question about Bulgaria for the end. What do you feel when you hear this word, as you have been living and working abroad for many years. What are your memories?

When I hear the word ‘Bulgaria’ I immediately think about beauty; the beauty of the Bulgarian people and the beauty of the country itself – from the Black Sea shores to the stunning mountains and healing mineral water springs. I feel quite fortunate to have two countries that have always felt like home for me. Of course, my personal and professional upbringing in Canada shaped much of who I am today, but at the same time, I have always been proud of my Bulgarian heritage and the memories this incredible country has provided me over the years. While I now find myself honoured to also call Doha home, I know that Bulgaria will always hold a special place in my heart.

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