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Qatar Airways CEO And Sri Lankan Prime Minister Discuss Rebuilding Tourism Industry Hit By Tsunami

Colombo, SRI LANKA – Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker pledged additional financial support by the airline to build more houses in a village devastated in last year’s tsunami disaster, when he held talks with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.

During a flying visit to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, Al Baker discussed a wide range of initiatives with the country’s PM Mr Mahinda Rajapakse.

These included a commitment by Qatar Airways to adopt the fishing village of Jambuwatte, 80km south of Colombo, by rebuilding 25 houses and a community centre damaged or destroyed in last year’s disaster. Al Baker said the Doha-based company would support the reconstruction of a further 75 houses to help the local community get back on its feet. Earlier, Al Baker held a press conference in the city at which he spoke of how Qatar Airways staff had initiated a fund-raising drive to support the tsunami project.

During talks with the Prime Minister, he said Qatar Airways enjoyed a long-standing association with Sri Lanka and looked forward to strengthening ties.

Colombo, he said, was an historic route for the airline as Qatar Airways’ first destination launched outside the Middle East in 1993 before the carrier’s relaunch.

He said Qatar Airways’ double daily flights operating between the airline’s Doha hub and Colombo were performing exceptionally well and pledged to increase the number of services between both capitals over time.

On the tsunami housing project, he briefed the Prime Minister on the sterling role played by airline staff to launch the fund-raising drive. Work began on the project, in conjunction with Habitat International – a non-government association – earlier this month with completion expected within weeks.

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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