The announcement coincides with a fundraising drive organised at Hamad International Airport in celebration of World Sight Day, inaugurated by HRH Princess Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, who is a patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Orbis is an international NGO that transforms lives by working to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment. There are 285 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, yet a staggering 80 per cent of eye conditions can be prevented or cured.
The charity’s unique approach centres on training local eye-care teams on the latest sight-saving techniques. Every year, Orbis’ medical volunteers – some of the world’s leading eye care specialists – spend their free time teaching and training health workers around the world.
As the Official Airline of Orbis UK, Qatar Airways will be flying medical volunteers on duty to the airline’s destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways believes that global aviation acts as a bridge between communities and people and we are delighted to be able to support causes that affect individuals across every continent. We are proud to offer our support to Orbis UK to help ensure that it can continue to make a significant difference in maintaining and restoring sight to even more people around the world.”
Flying to more than 150 destinations spread across six continents, Qatar Airways has the capability to reach many of the countries that Orbis UK volunteers want to reach.
Orbis Africa Chairman Mr. Robert Walters said: “We are delighted that Qatar Airways is supporting Orbis UK through becoming our official airline. This partnership continues our deep links with the aviation industry – since 1982 we have operated the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, a unique ophthalmic training centre on board a fully adapted DC-10 aircraft.
“With the support of Qatar Airways, our volunteers are able to continue saving sight around the world, moving us closer towards achieving our vision of a world where no-one is needlessly blind.”