Stockholm, SWEDEN – Qatar Airways celebrated the launch of flights to Sweden with a gala dinner last night featuring entertainment by Swedish trio Divine.
Stockholm City Hall, venue for the Nobel Prize Winners’ annual banquet, was the setting for the lavish night of hospitality and entertainment in true Qatar Airways style. The event was hosted by the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who welcomed local dignitaries and the guest of honour, Stockholm’s City Mayor Bo Bladholm.
Dignitaries included Laila Freivalds, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Justice; Per Unckel, Governor of Stockholm; Bjorn Eriksson, Governor of the region of Ostergotland, as well as Signhild Arnegard Hansen, Chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
The evening began with a visual presentation about the dramatic development taking place in the State of Qatar, followed by speeches by the Mayor and Qatar Airways’ CEO. There was also a raffle prize draw giving two lucky guests tickets to anywhere on the airline’s global network.
Swedish singing sensation Divine, a trio of young singers, kept guests entertained with their impressive mix of opera and classical music.
Yesterday, Qatar Airways began non-stop scheduled flights between its operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, and Stockholm, marking the launch of its first Scandinavian route. In doing so, Qatar Airways has become the only airline from the Middle East to serve the Baltic region.
Mayor Bladholm congratulated Qatar Airways for launching direct flights to Stockholm, saying: “We are delighted that Qatar Airways has chosen to fly to our beautiful city of Stockholm out of all the Scandinavian countries.”
He expressed hope that these direct flights would strengthen ties between Sweden and the State of Qatar.
Al Baker offered his appreciation to the people of Stockholm for giving the airline such a warm welcome as it landed at Arlanda International Airport yesterday morning.
“Tonight, Qatar Airways is celebrating the launch of our first route to Scandinavia with non-stop flights serving your wonderful capital city of Stockholm,” he said, addressing guests in the sumptuous surroundings of Golden Hall at Stockholm City Hall.
“We are also celebrating our 80th route in a year of aggressive expansion which has seen the launch of nine destinations from as far afield as New York and Washington DC to Ho Chi Minh City and Bali.
“We look forward to welcoming passengers from the Swedish market and, indeed, the surrounding Scandinavian region to Doha and beyond to our fantastic array of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Indian Ocean, Indian subcontinent and Far East.”
Al Baker spoke of the high level of interest by the Swedish media in the rapid development of the Qatari economy and the growing number of recent high-profile investments out of Qatar. He stressed that the non-stop flights would strengthen the economic relationship between both countries.
He explained that the addition of Stockholm reinforced the airline’s strategy to serve key cities around the world. Qatar Airways operates an Airbus A319 in a two-class configuration of eight seats in Business Class and 102 seats in Economy on the Doha – Stockholm route.
Qatar Airways is one of only five 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 12 million passengers. During the 2006/07 financial year, Qatar Airways carried more than 8 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways’ award-winning Privilege Club won an unprecedented eight accolades at the annual US-based Freddie Awards, designed to honour loyalty programmes across the global travel industry. For more information, visit www.qmiles.com
Doha-based Qatar Airways will have a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2015 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, together with 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning 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 2009, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com