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Qatar's Tourism Industry Helps Stranded Holidaymakers In Maldives Affected By Devastating Asian Tidal Waves

Doha, QATAR – In the spirit of cooperation by Qatar’s tourism industry, Qatar Airways, The Ritz-Carlton Doha and the Four Seasons Doha have joined forces for a humanitarian relief effort to help stranded passengers affected by the devastating tidal waves that have swept across south-east Asia.

A special Qatar Airways charter aircraft flew to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean this morning to pick up stranded guests of the Four Seasons Hotel Maldives before returning to Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, this evening.

The Airbus A330-200 aircraft carrying 130 passengers touched down at Doha International Airport shortly after 8.30pm.

All passengers have been accommodated at The Ritz-Carlton Doha, where 130 deluxe rooms have been set aside for them, with the main Al Wosail ballroom turned into a relief centre offering provisions of food and drink and assisting guests with a smooth and fast check-in.

The Ritz-Carlton Doha has offered accommodation for two nights and has dedicated a hospitality area with a specially-set up Internet café for holidaymakers to contact their families by email.

Qatar Airways has also set up a temporary reservation office of six staff in the Ritz ballroom to handle onward bookings for the guests, made up of men, women and children representing 20 nationalities from around the world.

One of the function rooms has been set aside for The Ritz Kids programme with toys, food and drink and specially-trained staff on hand to look after them.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker praised the joint efforts of Qatar’s tourism industry in such desperate times of need.

“What happened in south-east Asia has touched us all. It is a tragedy none of us could ever imagine happen,” he said.

“We at Qatar Airways are extremely pleased to have been able to help in this relief effort and all credit goes to our industry partners to work together at this extremely difficult time.”

Simon Casson, General Manager of the soon-to-be-opened new Four Seasons Doha, said the company’s sister property in the Maldives sent out a distress call for help by satellite telephone after all power was cut by the tidal waves.

“Our sister hotel in Singapore has been set up as a command centre and it was felt that Doha was strategically the best place to evacuate our guests to. We contacted Qatar Airways and they were happy to offer their assistance,” he said.

“We are extremely thankful that there was no loss of life at the Four Seasons in the Maldives and have received the most tremendous help from our industry partners at Qatar Airways and the Ritz-Carlton to look after our guests.”

Added Pierre Perusset, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Doha: “We know how terrifying a situation the guests have been through and The Ritz-Carlton Doha will extend the genuine care and personal service to provide guests with the best levels of comfort.

“These guests have had their Christmas and New Year holidays badly affected by the terrible events of Sunday and we can only do our best to make them feel at home here in Qatar.”

Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com


Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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