Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA - Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker thanked the people of Tanzania for the warm welcome received as the airline's maiden flight from Doha touched down in the country's commercial and financial capital of Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Earlier today, Al Baker paid a courtesy visit to the President of Tanzania, the Honourable Mr Jakaya Kikwete, where he expressed his gratitude for the warm reception.
During the meeting, they discussed growing economic and social ties between Qatar and Tanzania. Al Baker thanked the President for the warm welcome and support received from the people of Tanzania as Qatar Airways spent the past few months preparing for the new route launch.
"Qatar Airways has worked tirelessly to launch this route to Dar es Salaam and it's great to be received with such wonderful hospitality here in Tanzania as we touched down yesterday," he said.
The President of Tanzania congratulated Qatar Airways for launching the inaugural services and said the new operation would help bridge strong links between the two countries. He added that Qatar Airways would help support Tanzania's thriving tourism industry by flying visitors to this highly popular destination from around the world.
The audience with the President included Qatar Airways Senior Manager Commercial Operations Fathi Al Shehab, Senior Manager Marketing and Communications, Salam Al Shawa, Regional Manager Africa, John Brayford and Area Manager Tanzania, Pritt Chibole.
Al Baker led a delegation of media and airline officials from Qatar on the first flight QR544 for the six-hour journey to Tanzania's hub. The aircraft arrived to a fanfare of music and dance with government and airport officials out in force for the welcome ceremony at Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport.
Addressing a press conference at the Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski Dar es Salaam today, Al Baker briefed local and international media on the airline's expansion plans, citing the east African city as the first of nine new routes planned by Qatar Airways during 2007.
He gave a presentation to journalists on the airline's growth plans and updated them on the development of the New Doha International Airport, which opens in 2009.
Dar es Salaam is the 71st destination on Qatar Airways' global route map, which currently stretches from Doha to cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Far East.
Qatar Airways' expanded international network during 2007 will include Bali, New York, Lagos, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai, Ahmedabad and two, as yet to be announced, cities in northern and eastern Europe.
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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