Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways’ first flight back to Beirut following last month’s ceasefire landed safely in the Lebanese capital this afternoon.
Flight QR422 touched down at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport following a three-hour journey from Doha International Airport.
The Doha-based airline announced yesterday the resumption of charter flights to Beirut with non-stop services after the request was approved by the Lebanese authorities.
The first flight QR422, an Airbus A320 with a capacity of 118 passengers plus crew, took off from Doha International Airport this afternoon at 1230 hrs, arriving in Beirut at 1525 hrs. The aircraft landed safely in Beirut and was met by airport officials who welcomed the arrival after the airport was left without any commercial services since mid-July.
Qatar Airways is the first airline to receive permission for charter and humanitarian services to the war-ravaged country since the signing of a ceasefire agreement on August 14.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The resumption of charter flights by Qatar Airways to Beirut is great news for the people of Lebanon.
“After weeks without any air links to Beirut, Qatar Airways can now begin repatriating Lebanese citizens and also lend our support in terms of aid shipment to the country.
“Once we secured approval for our flights, we were only too pleased to begin operations as many people were keen to return home and start the rebuilding of their beautiful country.”
During the war, Qatar Airways continued to operate a series of extra flights to neighbouring Syria. The airline operated the extra flights in addition to the scheduled daily service between Doha and the Syrian capital, Damascus. From July 13 to August 15, Qatar Airways carried more than 13,000 passengers from Damascus to Doha.
Qatar Airways operates a fleet of 48 aircraft to 70 online destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East and Indian subcontinent from Doha, its hub and capital of the State of Qatar. Together with codeshare partners, Qatar Airways serves more than 90 cities worldwide.
Qatar Airways is one of only four airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency.
Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew best in the Middle East for the fourth year running in 2006 and second best in the world, while the airline’s global rankings rose to an admirable fifth best. Qatar Airways plans to more than double its fleet size to 110 aircraft by 2015.
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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