Doha, QATAR - Filipina mother Otessa Carbonell Schiapparelli was overjoyed with excitement after picking up the richest prize in the history of the Qatar Duty Free millionaire draw.
The US$1m winner was in Doha to collect her winning cheque from Qatar Duty Free Deputy General Manager Krishna Kumari after flying in from Manila for the special event.
Qatar Duty Free, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, launched the US Dollar Millionaire raffle draw last summer and has been overwhelmed with its success.
Otessa said she was ecstatic when she first heard of the win in a telephone call from Kumari at the time of the draw last month at Doha International Airport in the presence of passengers and media from around the world.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was in total shock, it was just amazing to receive such wonderful news and what an excellent Christmas present,” she said, speaking after picking up her winning cheque that made her an instant millionaire.
Otessa, who lives on the island of Palawan, south west of the Philippines capital Manila, said the money would give her family financial security for the rest of their life. She is married with an 11-year-old daughter.
She bought her winning ticket before boarding Qatar Airways’ Flight QR644 from Doha to Manila last year.
The millionaire raffle was launched in May 2006 with chances of passengers winning one million dollars extremely high as each draw is made after 5,000 tickets are sold. Departing and transiting passengers at Doha International Airport are able to purchase raffle tickets, each priced at QAR950.
The US$1million raffle was introduced as a replacement for the highly successful QAR1 million (US$280,000) raffle draw, which was launched three years ago.
Qatar Duty Free and Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the US$1million draw was the biggest-ever cash prize in the history of the company and, indeed, in the State of Qatar.
“Congratulations go out to Otessa for being our very first dollar millionaire,“ said Al Baker, who added that he hoped the money would give her great joy over the next few weeks, months and years to come, as well as financial security.
“The raffle has proved a huge success seeing passengers flying from, and transiting through, Doha International Airport, buying these tickets and giving them the opportunity to become instant dollar millionaires.
“Qatar Duty Free has enjoyed tremendous success since launching the Qatar Riyal Millionaire draw three years ago. With the new dollar millionaire draw, we have taken a huge step forward by increasing the prize money on offer by more than 300 per cent.
“After the first dollar millionaire draw, I look forward to welcoming many more instant millionaires over the next few months and years to come,” added Al Baker.
Said Kumari: “The beauty of this draw is that it is not restricted to just one prize. Every time 5,000 tickets are sold, we will have a raffle draw at Doha International Airport, so this shows that the chances of winning are extremely high.
“This draw brings joy and excitement to the lives of a few lucky winners. We look forward to drawing more money-spinning winning tickets very soon.”
Qatar Duty Free, a profitable subsidiary of Qatar Airways, has been enjoying significant growth year on year, helped by a ramping up of its presence in the departures and arrivals area at Doha International Airport, the airline’s operational hub. In 2006, Qatar Duty Free grew its business by more than 64 per cent over the previous 12 months.
The company has introduced high-end luxury brands at Doha International Airport, including Escada Fashion Ready to Wear, Bulgari Watches and Jewellery, Breitling Watches and Pianegonda Jewellery. The company plans to introduce Shiseido, Sands and Ferragamo products shortly.
In November 2006, Qatar Duty Free opened a 500sqm retail space selling high-end luxury brands at Qatar Airways’ new Premium Terminal, located at Doha International Airport. The terminal is for exclusive use by the airline’s First and Business Class passengers.
Qatar Airways expects to carry 8 million passengers during the current financial year that ends in March 2007. The airline operates a modern fleet of 52 all-Airbus aircraft to 71 destinations worldwide from Doha, the latest route being to Tanzania’s financial and commercial capital of Dar es Salaam, launched on January 9.
Qatar Airways expands its international network further in 2007 with the launch of non-stop scheduled flights between Doha and New York, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Lagos, Chennai and Ahmedabad, together with two points 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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