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Qatar Airways Touches Down In Land Of The Rising Sun

Osaka, JAPAN – Qatar Airways has brought its award-winning Five Star service to Japan with its inaugural flight from Doha touching down at Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

Flight QR820 arrived in Japan’s commercial city to a fireman’s salute welcome of the firing of a water arch, together with traditional Japanese music provided by Koto players and greetings from senior airport officials and codeshare partner ANA.

Qatar Airways General Manager Commercial, Mohamed Saleh Fakhri and Senior Manager Commercial Operations Far East and Australasia, Marwan Koleilat headed up the airline’s delegation on the first flight. Travel agents, tour operators and media from across the Middle East were also onboard for the nine-hour journey from Doha.

Atsuru Tamura, Area Manager Japan, and David Chiu, Regional Manager Northern Far East, were among Qatar Airways’ senior personnel welcoming the inaugural flight.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the arrival gate with Fakhri performing the honours flanked by Maiko ladies wearing traditional Japanese costume.

Osaka becomes the 60th destination on the airline’s rapidly growing global network from its operational hub of Doha and the first new route of Qatar Airways’ Summer 2005 flying programme.

The Osaka service marks Qatar Airways’ first foray into the Japanese market and the route is expected to help meet demand from business and leisure travellers between the Middle East and Japan.

The airline has scheduled four flights a week between Doha, capital of the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf, and Osaka which also marks Qatar Airways’ 11th Far East destination that already covers Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon and Jakarta.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the launch of Osaka fulfilled a long-held ambition for the airline to serve Japan.

“Qatar has very close ties with Japan, and we are extremely excited to at last offer our Five Star service to the people of Japan and both business and leisure travellers from around the world travelling on our global network,” he said.

Addressing a press conference in Osaka shortly after the inaugural flight touched down in Osaka, Mohamed Saleh Fakhri said passengers would have excellent connections beyond Osaka with codeshare partner All Nippon Airways.

“We are very pleased to have entered into a strategic codeshare partnership with ANA on the trunk route between Doha and Osaka and beyond to Tokyo Haneda Airport, Fukuoka and Sapporo,” he said, speaking to journalists from Japan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

“With the introduction of Qatar Airways flights to and from Osaka, we are linking not just two key markets, but offering the Japanese travelling public convenient connections to many exotic destinations via Doha to the Middle East, Levant, Seychelles, Maldives and Cape Town.”

As part of the Osaka route marketing campaign, Qatar Airways is offering members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer programme with double miles for the first full month of the new service.

Privilege Club members travelling on domestic or international services of ANA are able to accrue Qmiles for later redemption on flights on the Qatar Airways network and partner airlines.

Qatar Airways operates a modern all-Airbus fleet of 39 aircraft, which will double in size over the next few years following a $5.1bn order for 34 additional Airbus jets. The airline is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order, scheduled for delivery from 2009.

As one of the fastest growing and youngest carriers in the world, Qatar Airways has made significant inroads in the global aviation industry to become an award-winning airline in just a short few years.

It is one of only three airlines in the world to be ranked a Five Star carrier for excellent service and high standards by Skytrax.

Skytrax also ranked Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as the best in the Middle East in 2004 for the second year running and fifth best in the world following a survey of more than two million passengers worldwide.

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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