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Qatar Airways Extends Reach In India And Far East

Doha, QATAR – The successful launch of Qatar Airways' new services to Ho Chi Minh City and Chennai have come at a time of great expansion for the airline, according to its Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who addressed media earlier today after arriving on the company's inaugural flight to Vietnam.

Al Baker said he considered Vietnam as an important international business and leisure destination as the country continues to gain economic momentum following its acceptance into the World Trade Organisation last November.

"Interest in this country is growing, both in terms of economic investment and tourism. It is happening at a lightening rate, so we are very happy to be flying here and look forward to servicing an increasing number of visitors," he said.

"Our new flights will also prove to be a vital air link between Europe, other parts of the world, and Vietnam - via our operational hub of Qatar."

Al Baker added that with new flights between Doha and the tropical island of Bali, launched on March 24, the past few days had proved to be exciting period for Qatar Airways with three new routes in such a short space of time. All would provide excellent transit connections over Doha to cities across Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Al Baker.

Meanwhile, in India, Qatar Airways General Manager Commercial Operations Ali Al Rais was on hand to convey similar sentiments to a press gathering in Chennai, after accompanying VIP guests and invited media on Qatar Airways' first flight from Doha to India's east coast.

"The Indian market is massive, experiencing an unprecedented economic boom and Qatar Airways is honoured and proud to be part of this success story," said Al Rais.

"Chennai is a vitally important gateway to eastern and southern India and with our five other destinations across India, we are extremely pleased to be expanding our business in this key market."

Al Rais added that Qatar Airways had increased frequency by 40 per cent to India with the addition of Chennai and improved services on existing routes. The expansion sees flights increase from 30 to 42 services a week - each of the six Indian gateway cities are now served daily. The Hyderabad and Cochin flights have risen to daily services, while the daily Mumbai operation is now served with the state-of-the-art larger Airbus A330 aircraft. Trivandrum and Delhi remain daily.

Both Al Baker and Al Rais touted the new Doha International Airport as a major goal for Qatar Airways, with the opening scheduled for 2009. Once open, the new airport will be capable of handling 12 million passengers a year.

Al Baker predicted that Qatar Airways' passengers alone would potentially exceed this number when the new airport opens. Qatar Airways currently carries 8 million passengers a year, a figure that is expected to increase by an average 35 per cent annually.

The new Doha International Airport will be one of the first airports in the world specifically designed to handle the twin-deck Airbus A380 'super jumbo' - the largest passenger jet in the world.

Qatar Airways currently flies to 75 destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 56 all-Airbus aircraft. The fleet size will double to more than 110 aircraft by 2015.

In addition to Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai and Bali, Qatar Airways is launching flights to further destinations across North America and Europe as part of its massive expansion for 2007. These include a first move for Qatar Airways into North America with direct scheduled flights from Doha to New York and Washington DC.

The additional new routes for 2007 are:-

Geneva4 flights a week from June 28
New York4 flights a week from June 28
WashingtonDAILY from Summer 2007
Stockholm4 flights a week from November 2007

The Doha – Ho Chi Minh City schedules, effective 25 March 2007 are:

Depart Doha International Airport
Tuesday            QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Friday                QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Saturday            QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Sunday              QR688 at 2359, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1135 following day

Depart Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
Monday             QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Tuesday            QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Friday                QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Saturday            QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359

The Doha – Chennai schedules, effective 24 March 2007 are:

Depart Doha International Airport
DAILY              QR276 at 2045, arrive Chennai at 0345 following day

Depart Chennai International Airport
DAILY                  QR277 at 0445, arrive Doha at 0645

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


Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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