Nagpur, INDIA - Qatar Airways today celebrated the launch of scheduled flights to the central Indian city of Nagpur marking the airline's seventh destination in India.
The Civil Aviation Minister of India, the Honourable Praful Patel, was among the guests at Dr. Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur to welcome the first flight and the airline's Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker who flew on the inaugural from Doha.
Flight QR288 touched down at the city's airport this morning to a welcome ceremony, which included Indian dancing and the symbolic traditional lighting of the lamp, seen as an auspicious occasion to herald launches.
Qatar Airways is the only full-service scheduled international airline from the Middle East flying to Nagpur. The launch of twice-weekly flights between Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, and Nagpur takes the airline's burgeoning network across India to 44 services a week.
The Nagpur route is being operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy.
Qatar Airways is today one of the largest foreign airlines serving India with flights to seven cities - Nagpur, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Trivandrum, Cochin and Hyderabad. With the launch of daily flights between Doha and Gujarat state's largest city of Ahmedabad in western India starting on December 12, Qatar Airways will reach a milestone 51 services a week linking Qatar with India.
Speaking on arrival in Nagpur, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the city was a welcome addition to the airline's family of destinations across India.
"Following on from our highly successful daily Mumbai flights, Nagpur will become Qatar Airways' second gateway city in Maharashtra, giving our passengers greater choice," he said.
"From Europe, Middle East, Africa and North America - Nagpurians have an ample number of cities on these Continents to choose from and I look forward to welcoming our new passengers on our award-winning Five Star service to Doha and beyond.
"We are proud to put Qatar Airways firmly across the Indian map and delighted to say that India has the largest number of routes for Qatar Airways than any other country we currently serve."
Al Baker applauded Praful Patel, India's Civil Aviation Minister, for his drive, commitment and personal endeavours over the years to open up the Indian aviation industry to greater competition, which he said was good for the travelling consumer.
Bilateral relations between Qatar and India, he explained, were strengthening and the additional routes only reinforced the commitment between both countries to strengthen their ties.
Located in the State of Maharashtra, Nagpur has a population of over two million people, has a rich farming belt and is India's orange-growing centre. International companies have begun looking at Nagpur as India's next base of technological excellence.
Nagpur is an extremely resource-rich region of Maharashtra offering tremendous business opportunities as it is also one of India's largest inland container transport hubs. A new economic zone and airport are being planned in the city.
Added Al Baker: "2007 has been a fantastic year for Qatar Airways with the launch of nine new destinations so far, including two Indian routes of Chennai earlier this year, and now, Nagpur. With Ahmedabad coming on line in December, Qatar Airways will further strengthen its position in the Indian market."
With the growth of the Indian economy into a potential global powerhouse and Qatar's drive to spread its economic wings, increasing air links between the two countries is of paramount importance to boost trade and commerce. Bilateral trade between India and Qatar has an estimated value of just US$1 billion, the majority represented by the export of $690m worth of Qatari liquid natural gas (LNG) to India.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft to 79 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East, Indian subcontinent and North America. The highlight of this year's expansion has been the launch of flights to New York (Newark) and Washington DC - the airline's first move into the North American market.
With a growing international network, more travellers have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways' Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for departing First and Business Class passengers.
The Premium Terminal features facilities including a spa, jacuzzi, exclusive duty free shopping, business centre and fine dining restaurants. Built in just nine months, the US$90 million terminal is the world's first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers and offers departing and transit passengers an excellent opportunity to relax and unwind prior to their flight.
DOHA - NAGPUR Schedules:
|Doha - Nagpur||Wed, Sun||QR288||2200||0430*|
|Nagpur - Doha||Mon, Thur||QR289||0535||0705|
* Arrival the following day
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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