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Yangon, MYANMAR – Qatar Airways today marked the resumption of flights to Yangon after a four-year absence with the launch of scheduled services to Myanmar’s largest city.
Qatar Airways’ flight QR618 is greeted by a water salute upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, making it the first carrier outside Asia to operate flights into Myanmar’s commercial capital.
Yangon becomes Qatar Airways’ 10th gateway in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) following on from successful operations to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Manila and Phuket – and the carrier’s 119th destination worldwide.
It is also the latest of several route launches so far this year by the rapidly-growing global carrier.
Qatar Airways suspended flights to Yangon in January 2008, and is now restoring services, providing greater economic and travel opportunities for the people of Myanmar.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a delegation onboard the non-stop overnight flight QR618 from Doha to Yangon. A traditional water salute heralded the arrival of the aircraft this morning as it taxied to the international terminal.
Guests onboard the flight included His Excellency Mr Khin Zaw Win, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and responsible for Qatar, together with international media.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, pictured centre, at Yangon International Airport following the airline’s resumption of flights to Myanmar. He is flanked by His Excellency, Mr. Jabor Ali Al-Dosseri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiairy of the State of Qatar to Thailand and responsible for Myanmar (left); and His Excellency, U Myint Swe, Chief Minister, Yangon Region Government.
The delegation was officially welcomed at Yangon International Airport by His Excellency U Myint Swe, Chief Minister Yangon Region. The arrival ceremony was attended by more than 60 VIPs and media.
Al Baker said Qatar Airways' re-entry into Yangon marked one of the Gulf carrier's most important route launches of the year.
“Yangon becomes our ninth new destination so far this year to join Qatar Airways’ family of routes and the first Asian launch in 2012,” he said.
"Today marks a very special occasion as we celebrate our arrival into a city and country that show enormous potential and growth, both as a competitive tourism destination and centre for business in the ASEAN region.
“There has never been a better time to expand into Myanmar – a country blessed with rich natural resources, and proximity to some of the world’s most dynamic economies.
“The people of Yangon and across Myanmar now have great travel options to more than 90 business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa and The Americas. And similarly, we will be flying business and leisure travellers from around the world with a one-stop product through Doha, helping contribute to the revival of Myanmar’s once burgeoning economy.”
Pictured in discussion at the VIP lounge following the arrival of Qatar Airways’ new flights to Yangon International Airport are from left: U Win Swe Tun, Deputy Director General, Department of Civil Aviation Ministry of Transport; His Excellency Jabor Ali Al-Dosseri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiairy of the State of Qatar to Thailand and responsible for Myanmar, and Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
Added Al Baker: “At Qatar Airways, we remain committed to opening up access to destinations that are largely underserved by international airlines and that have great market potential. Yangon is an example of this and 2012 will continue to be one of our biggest years of expansion addressing the underserved markets that our strategy has focused on.
“As we continue to grow and receive more aircraft, we will look at other opportunities to expand our network and further strengthen our brand presence around the world. This includes the ASEAN region, especially at a time when the region is preparing to implement its open skies policy in 2015, which will open up air access even more to this dynamic part of the world.”
Qatar Airways is operating thrice-weekly non-stop scheduled flights into Yangon from its Doha hub, flying an Airbus 319 aircraft in a two-class configuration offering eight seats in Business and 102 in Economy.
The former capital of Yangon and current gateway to Myanmar has by far the largest airport in the country, handling around 2.5 million passengers annually, two-thirds being international visitors – a figure set to rise sharply as airlines start flights from other markets.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, third left, is presented with a memento by His Excellency U Myint Swe, Chief Minister, Yangon Region Government, to mark the airline’s return to Myanmar. With them from left at Yangon International Airport, are : His Excellency U Aung Khin, Minister of Transport, Yangon Region ; His Excellency Khin Zaw Win, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and responsible for Qatar ; His Excellency Jabor Ali Al-Dosseri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Qatar to Thailand and responsible for Myanmar ; and His Excellency U Hla Myint, Mayor of Yangon City.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 111 aircraft to 119 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
The Asia Pacific and South Asia represent around 30 per cent of Qatar Airways’ global coverage, flying to diverse cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka, Tokyo, Perth, Beijing, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Colombo.
Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Maputo, Mozambique (October 31); Belgrade, Serbia (November 20); Warsaw, Poland (December 5); Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); and Chicago, USA (April 10).
|DOHA – YANGON (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays)|
|Depart Doha||QR 618 at 2105 hrs, arrive in Yangon at 0700 hrs next day|
|YANGON – DOHA (Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays)|
|Depart Yangon||QR 619 at 0830 hrs, arrive in Doha at 1130 hrs|
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com