Nairobi, KENYA – Qatar Airways has launched the first of its Winter 2005/6 routes with its inaugural flight to Nairobi touching down in the Kenyan capital.
Flight QR532 carrying a delegation of journalists and tour operators landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport following a five-hour flight from Doha International Airport, the operational hub of Qatar Airways.
Fathi Al Shehab, the airline’s Senior Manager Commercial Operations Middle East and Africa, was on the first flight as it arrived to a traditional fireman’s water arch salute, followed by a guard of honour of traditional Masai Mara warrior dancers and a cake-cutting ceremony.
Qatar Airways Regional Manager Africa, John Brayford was among the official welcoming party, which included the Kenyan Assistant Minister of Transport, the Honourable Andrew Ligale, and Kenya Airports Authority managing director, George Muhoho.
On arrival in Nairobi, Al Shehab said the city was the gateway to central and eastern Africa that presented Qatar Airways with plenty of opportunities.
“We believe this route launch between Doha and Nairobi will give both our cities and, indeed countries, a significant boost to tourism which will help bridge economic ties,” he said.
Nairobi – Qatar Airways’ ninth destination in Africa – is the trading and regional capital of East Africa and gateway to superb holiday offerings such as safaris in the Masai Mara and beach vacations along the Indian Ocean coast of Mombasa.
Qatar Airways is serving Nairobi non-stop five-times-a-week from Doha, the operational hub of Qatar Airways. The airline is using an Airbus A300-600 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 204 in Economy on the route.
Nairobi is the first of three new winter routes for the fast-growing airline as it also prepares to launch scheduled flights to the Spanish capital, Madrid, on December 2 and the German capital, Berlin, on December 15.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said Nairobi was an important gateway to east Africa and crucial to the airline’s aspirations to grow its network on the Continent.
He explained that with the addition of Nairobi, Qatar Airways’ entire African services represented around 15 per cent of its global network.
“We have spread our wings to Kenya to give us greater coverage in Africa which promises to grow even further to a wider network over the next few years,” said Al Baker.
“This year alone has seen tremendous expansion on the African continent, with Qatar Airways launching new services to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tunis and Algiers. Nairobi is a destination that will undoubtedly appeal to both business and leisure travellers.”
From wildlife to nightlife, Nairobi is a city that has a fantastic music scene, international restaurants and a colourful array of shops and markets.
Just outside the city is Nairobi National Park, comprising 113 sq kms of plains, cliffs and forest. The park is home to large herds of zebra, antelope and buffalo, as well as giraffe, rhino, lion and cheetah – all living in the wild.
Qatar Airways currently operates scheduled flights from Doha to 67 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and the Far East. Qatar Airways will offer excellent Nairobi connections for passengers travelling via Doha to and from Europe, Middle East, Indian subcontinent and the Far East.
Award-winning Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 42 all-Airbus aircraft, which will almost double within a few years. The airline recently announced plans to acquire up to 80 aircraft comprising 60 of the new generation A350s and 20 Boeing 777s worth a total US$15.2 billion.
The airline is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2009 to coincide with the opening of the New Doha International Airport.
Qatar Airways is one of a select-few Five Star airlines in the world ranked by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the third year running and fifth best in the world following a survey of more than 12 million passengers worldwide, while the airline also maintained its position as among the world’s top 10 carriers.
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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