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Qatar Airways Celebrates First Anniversary Of Beijing Route With Extra Capacity

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways is celebrating the first anniversary of its Beijing service by increasing frequency on the route to meet growing demand.

An extra scheduled flight is being launched from today between Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, and Beijing, taking capacity up from three to four non-stop flights a week.

The new service QR898 departs Doha on Monday evening at 2305, arriving in the Chinese capital at 1215 the following day ensuring passengers arrive in the city in time for lunch. The return flight QR899 leaves Beijing on Tuesday afternoon at 1610, arriving in Doha at 2045 the same day.

Since Beijing was added to Qatar Airways’ growing international network in November 2004, the route has performed exceptionally well, prompting the airline to step up capacity. The Chinese capital is part of the airline’s strategy to develop services to North East Asia where it already operates scheduled flights to Shanghai, Seoul and Osaka, together with cargo services to Macau.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “We have been looking at increasing capacity on the Beijing route for some time, but due to limitations on traffic rights and availability of aircraft, we have not been able to fulfill our requirements.

“China is fast developing as a future economic powerhouse and we, at Qatar Airways want to continue to be part of the China success story. We are not only facilitating the growth in air travel between the Middle East and China, but between many points on our global network and China.

“By providing additional air links, we are building and strengthening already solid trade and commercial ties between Qatar and China.

“Next year, Qatar looks forward to hosting the 15th Asian Games and with the largest contingent of participants coming from China, we at Qatar Airways will be proud to carry athletes and spectators from this wonderful country to our shores.”

As the official airline of the Games, national carrier Qatar Airways will be heavily promoting the event over the next few months and will be targeting Asia as a growth area for new routes and increased capacity on existing services in the region.

Qatar Airways already has a strong presence in the Chinese market, with thrice-weekly flights between Doha and Shanghai and a codeshare partnership with Air China. The airline is planning to increase frequency to Shanghai in the New Year.

And from March 26 next year, the Doha-based airline will launch daily scheduled flights between Doha and the former British colony of Hong Kong, now a special administrative region of China.

Hong Kong will become Qatar Airways’ 12th destination in the Far East and South East Asia that already covers Osaka, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon and Jakarta.

The extra Beijing flight will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 in a two-class configuration of up to 24 seats in Business and 259 seats in Economy. Business Class seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration, recline to a bed mode of 160 degrees.

The Airbus A330-200 features Qatar Airways’ award-winning Audio Video On Demand system, allowing passengers in all three classes to choose from a list of more than 40 international movies, as well as short programmes to view on their individual TV screens.

Passengers can also listen to an extensive list of 250 CDs and 16 audio channels. In addition, there is a choice of 12 video games to play through the interactive TV screens.

Qatar Airways currently operates scheduled flights from Doha to 67 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and the Far East. Together with its codeshare partners, the airline serves more than 80 destinations worldwide.

Earlier this month, the Kenyan capital Nairobi became the first of three new winter routes for the rapidly-growing airline. On December 2, the airline launches scheduled flights to the Spanish capital, Madrid, followed by new services to the German capital, Berlin, on December 15.

The award-winning carrier has a modern fleet of 42 all-Airbus aircraft, which will almost triple in size to 110 jets by 2015. 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 Airbus 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 four ‘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

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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