Colombo, SRI LANKA – Sri Lanka’s record-breaking cricket team arrived in Colombo on Qatar Airways to a heroes welcome after their most successful ever tour of England.
Qatar Airways was privileged to fly the team on their summer tour of the UK and back to Sri Lanka via Doha, the airline’s operational hub.
The players were in fine spirits, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans at Doha International Airport enroute to Colombo, where they received another huge reception soon after arrival on Flight QR302.
During their stopover in Doha, Qatar Airways’ Regional Manager UAE, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Iran, Abdul Qadir Aziz, and Senior Manager Frequent Flyer Programme, Iain Webster, presented players with crystal mementoes to celebrate their achievements. Each player also signed cricket bats to mark their success.
Star batsman and former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, named man-of-the-one-day-series against England, was among the party of players and officials that flew back to Sri Lanka with Qatar Airways from London Heathrow.
Speaking in Doha, Jayasuriya said the team looked forward to returning home after their best-ever tour of England and match-winning performances in the Netherlands.
“We’re happy to be flying home after our most successful tour of England and look forward to be back with our families and friends.”
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said it was an honour for the airline to carry the award-winning Sri Lankan cricket team.
“I congratulate the Sri Lankan team for their winning performances on their tour of England and the Netherlands,” he said.
“It was a triumphant tour which will remain memorable for cricket fans across the world for many years to come. Qatar Airways is extremely delighted to have been associated with the Sri Lankan cricket team and we hope they enjoyed our Five Star service and Arabic hospitality on their entire journey.”
Sri Lanka won the one-day series against England 5–0, and drew the Test series with England 1–1. Jayasuriya and fellow opener Upul Tharanga produced a stand of 286, the third best in one-day internationals, as they trounced England in the one-day matches.
Sri Lanka later wrapped up their European tour by beating the Netherlands 2–0 in the one-day series. The team shattered the one-day world record by piling on 443-9 in their 195-run win over the Netherlands.
With the World Cup in the Caribbean just months away, the Sri Lankans were in sprightly mood, gearing up for the biggest tournament in cricket on a winning note.
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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