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London, UNITED KINGDOM – Award-winning Qatar Airways boosted its tally of international honours by grabbing four key accolades at the 12th World Travel Awards during a glittering ceremony in London last night.Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was honoured with the 2005 Airline Personality Of the Year Award. The airline also picked up awards for World’s Leading Flat Bed Seat, Best Inflight Meal Service and Leading Airline in the Middle East.The Doha-based carrier added a fifth accolade at the opening of World Travel Market (WTM) in London today by winning a World Travel Global Award.As one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing airlines, the achievements are seen as remarkable in the short few years since Qatar Airways’ relaunch in 1997 from a small regional carrier with a handful of routes to a global airline covering 66 destinations.More than 500 guests representing the crème de la crème of the world’s travel industry – from hoteliers, airlines and cruise lines to tourist boards, travel agents and tour operators – attended the lavish World Travel Awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in central London last night.The internationally-acclaimed Cirque Du Soleil troupe headlined the event with a performance of their unique breathtaking style and artistry in front of the distinguished guests.The World Travel Global Award presented to Akbar Al Baker at WTM this morning reflects the sharp rise in global recognition for Qatar Airways.Al Baker has been instrumental in guiding Qatar Airways into a powerful airline in Middle East aviation and a leading global carrier since being appointed CEO in 1997. He has single-handedly shaped the airline into an award-winning regional and international carrier from its operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.
He stressed that the achievements recognised the airline’s commitment to deliver the highest levels of passenger service.“Qatar Airways has come a long way in its short history, and what an honour to be honoured by the world’s travel industry professionals,” said Al Baker after last night’s gala awards dinner.“We have made huge strides in a highly competitive aviation world to become one of the best airlines in the skies today and, it is indeed a great privilege to find ourselves being honoured tonight in front of such distinguished guests from around the world.“This recognition clearly demonstrates our ability to prove to the global marketplace that Qatar Airways can successfully compete in the international arena and prove our standards are among the best in the world.”He added: “On behalf of Qatar Airways, I can only say a ‘big thank you’ to our staff, our passengers and, of course, our key travel trade partners – travel agents around the world – for supporting us through our meteoric growth over the past few years.”Qatar Airways’ revolutionary First Class seat onboard its long-haul Airbus A330 aircraft is one of the most spacious in the skies today with a 79-inch pitch and reclining 180 degrees into a fully flat bed. The seats also offer the comforts of a ‘Five Star restaurant’ where passengers can dine on gourmet food with a fellow traveller sitting opposite in one of several ‘buddy’ seats.The First Class seats feature the biggest individual LCD TV screens measuring 15 inches of any Middle East airline, and the inflight entertainment is fully interactive offering Audio Video On Demand which gives passengers greater control of viewing and listening options.Qatar Airways’ inflight meal service is already of the highest standards, with excellent food and is undergoing a revamp with a new-style individual service that will see the removal of the traditional trolley service in premium cabins over the next few months.The latest awards add to this summer’s winning streak when Qatar Airways landed a string of accolades in the annual World Airline Awards 2005 carried out by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency.The Skytrax awards included Qatar Airways holding onto the coveted Five Star award for excellence, service and high standards; Best First Class and Business Class product in the Middle East; Best Cabin Crew in the Middle East for the third year running, and Best First Class lounge in the Middle East.The airline operates a modern fleet of 42 state-of-the-art all-Airbus aircraft serving short-haul, medium-haul and long-haul routes from Doha. The fleet will almost triple in size over the next 10 years to 110 aircraft. Qatar Airways recently signed a letter of intent to acquire up to 80 aircraft, comprising 60 of the new generation A350s and 20 Boeing 777s worth a total US$15.2 billion.
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
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Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department
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