Delhi, INDIA – Qatar Airways today announced a huge expansion of its operations across India with the launch of two new routes and the introduction of additional capacity on existing services.
Beginning April 2007, Chennai in southern India, and Ahmedabad, in western India, will join Qatar Airways’ burgeoning Indian network, which already includes non-stop services from Doha to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum.
Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, and the Gujarat capital of Ahmedabad, will each be served with seven flights a week from the start of the Summer 2007 flying season.
With immediate effect, the Doha-based carrier has been granted rights by the Indian government to increase capacity to the country’s commercial capital of Mumbai and the southern city of Trivandrum with its bigger, state-of-the-art Airbus A330 aircraft – almost doubling the number of seats on both routes, each served daily.
The Cochin and Hyderabad flights will see frequency increase by two and three flights, respectively, to give both cities a daily operation, and each served with a two-class Airbus A321.
Qatar Airways normally operates 30 flights a week between Doha and five cities across India. Under the new bilateral arrangement, the airline will serve India with 49 flights a week. The increase has been made possible following a successful round of bilateral negotiations in New Delhi this week between the governments of Qatar and India.
During the Indian government's current temporary open skies policy for Winter 2006/07, Qatar Airways has been granted rights to operate 42 flights a week, effective from December 15 until January 31, 2007.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was ecstatic with news of the expansion and thanked both the governments of India and Qatar for their diligent bilateral negotiations.
"This is tremendous news for the travelling public and Qatar Airways," he said, addressing a packed press conference at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi.
"India is one of our key markets, sustainable due to the high demand for our popular services to five important cities. Qatar Airways has been eyeing new opportunities across India for some time, and I am extremely thankful to both the Indian and Qatari authorities for their successful negotiations to open up the market to more flights.
"The Indian government has demonstrated that it is keen and willing to open up its market to more competition and this has to be good news for the consumer. More flights mean more choice.
"Our expansion further strengthens ties between both countries which goes back many years."
Added Al Baker: "2007 will be yet another year of huge growth for Qatar Airways – a year in which we celebrate a milestone 10th anniversary of operations.
"Chennai and Ahmedabad will be joined by New York, Bali, Ho Chih Minh City, Lagos, Dar Es Salaam and two points in eastern and northern Europe in 2007, together with the first of our 20 Boeing 777 long-range commercial aircraft – so what a year we have in store.
With a growing international network, he added that more travellers would have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ brand new Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for departing First and Business Class passengers.
The Premium Terminal features facilities such as a spa, jacuzzi, duty free, business centre and fine dining restaurants. Built in just nine months, the terminal is the world’s first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers.
During the press conference, Al Baker applauded India's athletes for their tremendous performance during the recent 15th Asian Games held in Doha.
"As Official Airline of the Asian Games, Qatar Airways delivered its award-winning Five Star service to sports men and women, officials and spectators to the Games, which lived up to its promise of being the best and biggest ever in Games history.
"Qatar Airways' trademark is personal attention and service quality, epitomising the values and hospitality of our Qatari tradition. We looked after the thousands of people who travelled with us to Qatar for the Asian Games and I look forward to welcoming more people on our new services as we enter 2007 in buoyant mood.
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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