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Doha, QATAR – Two relief flights carrying much-needed aid for victims of October’s devastating earthquake in Pakistan leave Doha for Islamabad tomorrow morning for what is the first major step by the recently-launched ‘Reach Out To Asia’ charity to help those in need.Her Excellency Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar, will be heading a delegation of officials from ‘Reach Out To Asia’ and other Qatar-based charities on one of the flights.Both flights are scheduled to leave Doha International Airport tomorrow for the three-hour journey to Islamabad. The flights – a Qatar Airways aircraft and charter plane – will be carrying several tonnes of aid, comprising blankets, sleeping bags and tents.During her visit to Pakistan, Sheikha Mayassa will meet survivors of the earthquake, as well as government officials and education authorities to discuss the rebuilding efforts of the worst-hit areas. She is also due to meet Mrs Sehba Musharraf, wife of the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf.Since the earthquake struck in north-east Pakistan claiming the lives of more than 90,000 people, many more have been left homeless with their houses destroyed or damaged. International aid agencies are worried about further loss of life, primarily due to exposure to the cold weather.Their main priority now is to shelter the homeless from exposure to the mountainous winter weather that has begun to settle. Aid agencies around the world have been working round-the-clock to assist families of victims of the disaster by providing food, water and shelter.Since ‘Reach Out To Asia’ was launched as a charity in Qatar three months ago, more than US$20 million has been raised through individual contributions, company donations, as well as a star-studded charity auction gala dinner in Doha. The November 16 charity event was attended by more than 500 guests, including former US President Bill Clinton, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, former gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comeneci and Canadian rock star Bryan Adams.The charity, launched by Qatar Foundation, Qatar Airways and the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC), aims to raise funds for the underprivileged and disadvantaged across Asia. The first major task of the charity is to convert some of the money raised into practical aid for the Pakistan earthquake victims and for survivors of last year’s tsunami disaster in south-east Asia that killed more than 200,000 people.Sheikha Mayassa said: “These are desperate times for the people of Pakistan. Having gone through so much turmoil following the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people are facing the onslaught of one of the worst winters on record.
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
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