Qatar-Italy aer­o­bat­ics show wows res­i­dents

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Ala­gos Busi­ness Re­porter

Most res­i­dents tak­ing their week­end stroll along the Cor­niche stood in awe yes­ter­day as they mar­velled at the ex­cit­ing and syn­chro­nised aer­o­batic ma­noeu­vres of the Qatari Dis­play Team and Italy’s Frecce Tri­col­ori, who are in Doha for a two-day air show.

From 1.45pm, the Ital­ian Air Force and Qatari Dis­play Team will per­form their last show to­day. The Cor­niche pro­vides the ap­pro­pri­ate van­tage point to watch the show’s breath­tak­ing air stunts.

The pres­ence of Frecce Tri­col­ori in Doha demon­strates Italy’s “spe­cial at­ten­tion” to Qatar,” said Ital­ian am­bas­sador Pasquale Salzano, ad­dress­ing guests who came to watch the show at the Le Veranda Restau­rant in Doha.

“For the first time ever, Frecce Tri­col­ori per­forms abroad in No­vem­ber in a time of the year where they usu­ally do not or­gan­ise shows in other coun­tries, thus demon­strat­ing the spe­cial at­ten­tion that Italy wants to ded­i­cate to Qatar,” Salzano stressed.

He said: “The great par­tic­i­pa­tion of the peo­ple who gath­ered along the Cor­niche to watch the show, the ad­mi­ra­tion that we feel from Qatari peo­ple - re­turned by the Ital­ian com­mu­nity in Doha - the warm wel­come given to Italy ev­ery time, are par­tic­u­larly ex­pres­sive and make me re­ally proud and hon­oured to serve as am­bas­sador in Qatar.

“As an am­bas­sador, I think that our work means some­thing when we are able to reach the peo­ple out there, be­yond diplo­matic cir­cles or po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary en­vi­ron­ments - and this is ex­actly what hap­pened to­day, so thank you to all the ones who made it pos­si­ble.”

Aside from Frecce Tri­col­ori, the show also high­lighted im­pres­sive aer­o­batic ma­noeu­vres from the Qatari Dis­play Team, which opened yes­ter­day’s show. Their per­for­mance was con­cluded with the lat­est aero­nau­tics tech­nolo­gies of Italy-based global high-tech com­pany, Leonardo, cour­tesy of the M-346 (T-346A) and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

An official of the Ital­ian Air Force has lauded the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ments in de­fence co-op­er­a­tion be­tween Qatar and Italy, which in­cludes joint train­ing and other mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

This was re­vealed yes­ter­day by Lt Gen Set­timo Ca­puto, deputy chief of staff of the Ital­ian Air Force, who spoke to re­porters on the side­lines of an air­show or­gan­ised by the Ital­ian em­bassy in Doha and Leonardo, an Italy­based global high-tech com­pany.

“We are also of­fer­ing the pos­si­bil­ity to send some pi­lots to be trained in Italy where the Ital­ian Air Force op­er­ates the M-246, a state-of-the-art air­craft, and houses one of the best trainer sys­tem. This is an on­go­ing co-op­er­a­tion with Qatar. On Mon­day, I will be hav­ing dis­cus­sions with my Qatari coun­ter­part…in each level, we have a lot of dis­cus­sions be­ing held to im­prove the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Qatar and Italy,” Ca­puto said.

Speak­ing to Gulf Times ear­lier, Ital­ian am­bas­sador Pasquale Salzano said a deal for he­li­copters from Leonardo and joint mil­i­tary train­ing was con­cluded be­tween Qatar and Italy, cit­ing the re­cent visit to Italy of HE the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of State for De­fence Af­fairs, Dr Khalid bin Mo­hamed al-At­tiyah.

“He at­tended the MoU sign­ing for joint Qatari-Ital­ian mil­i­tary train­ing in Italy; and what we had re­alised now is that the air­show to­day and to­mor­row show­cases the high­level of friend­ship be­tween Italy and Qatar,” Salzano said.

Last month, Dr al-At­tiyah held a meet­ing with Ital­ian Min­is­ter of De­fence Elis­a­betta Trenta at the Min­istry of De­fence head­quar­ters in Rome.

Both of­fi­cials at­tended the sign­ing cer­e­mony of the op­er­a­tional train­ing agree­ment with the Ital­ian side and the es­tab­lish­ment of the na­tional squadron of the NH90 he­li­copter in Italy.

In a state­ment, Leonardo said: “Ac­cord­ing to a con­tract signed in March dur­ing the Doha In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime De­fence Ex­hi­bi­tion & Con­fer­ence (Dimdex) held in Doha, Leonardo will act as prime con­trac­tor for the 28 NH90 he­li­copter pro­gramme and will be re­spon­si­ble for assem­bly, de­liv­ery, and sup­port of the 12 he­li­copters ded­i­cated to naval ap­pli­ca­tions.”

The Qatari Dis­play Team in ac­tion. PIC­TURE: Jayan Orma

(From left) Ital­ian Air Force deputy chief of staff Lt Gen Set­timo Ca­puto, Ital­ian mil­i­tary at­tache Col Maurizio Patane, Ital­ian am­bas­sador Pasquale Salzano, Leonardo gen­eral man­ager in Qatar Va­le­rio Stella and Leonardo air­craft re­gional man­ager Italo Rossini ad­dress a press con­fer­ence on the side­lines of an air­show held in Doha yes­ter­day.

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