Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways today announced plans to serve the southern Chinese industrial port city of Guangzhou from the start of the summer flying season to further cement its position in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Beginning March 31, Doha-based Qatar Airways will become the first airline from the Gulf to serve Guangzhou. It will operate four flights-a-week non-stop using an Airbus A330 aircraft in a two-class configuration of up to 24 seats in Business Class and a maximum 248 in Economy.
The addition of Guangzhou strengthens Qatar Airways’ China network, where it already flies to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong with a total of 16 flights a week. Guangzhou takes the airline’s capacity into China up to 20 flights a week. From May 1, Qatar Airways adds a fifth weekly service to Guangzhou.
Passengers flying Qatar Airways from Europe, Middle East and Africa will have excellent connections to Guangzhou via the airline’s operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.
The new services will provide a strong sporting link as Doha hosted the biggest ever Asian Games in 2006, while Guangzhou is set to host the next sporting extravaganza in 2010.
Guangzhou, also known by its older English name of Canton, has a population of almost 10 million people and is the capital of Guangdong province. Situated on the Pearl River, the city is only 120 kilometres northwest of China’s thriving business capital of Hong Kong.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said Guangzhou would complement the airline’s daily services to Hong Kong, offering business and leisure travellers an exciting opportunity to visit two key Chinese cities in such close proximity to each other.
“China is, and will continue to be, a strategically vital part of Qatar Airways’ expansion plans – and no serious airline can afford to ignore a country with a thriving and buoyant economy,” he said.
“Since we entered the China market four years ago, we have gradually introduced new routes and increased capacity into this exciting country.
“First with Beijing, followed by Shanghai, then Hong Kong, we are set to further widen our presence in China by adding the southern industrial city of Guangzhou to our rapidly growing international network. It is a historic move for Qatar Airways as we will be the first airline from the Gulf to operate into Guangzhou.”
Beginning May 1, Al Baker said Qatar Airways would increase capacity further into Guangzhou with a fifth weekly scheduled flight.
He added: “With China hosting the Olympic Games later this year when Beijing takes centre stage for this two-week sporting extravaganza, Qatar Airways is proud to be part of China’s success story. Furthermore, both Guangzhou and Doha have a strong sporting link as we hosted the Asian Games in Qatar just over 12 months ago, and it will be the turn of Guangzhou in 2010 to take charge of this fantastic sporting event.”
Qatar Airways’ China operation currently includes daily flights to Hong Kong; four weekly services to Beijing; and five services a week to Shanghai.
The airline operates a modern fleet of 60 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 81 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Far East and North America.
The airline is one of an elite group of carriers with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry research company. 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 current 2007/08 financial year, Qatar Airways expects to carry more than 10 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
The Doha – Guangzhou schedules, effective 31 March 2008 are:-
Depart Doha International Airport
Monday, Tuesday, Friday QR876 at 0230, arrive Guangzhou at 1535
Thursday QR874 at 0230, arrive Guangzhou at 1535
Depart Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
Monday, Tuesday, Friday QR877 at 2030, arrive Doha International Airport at 2359
Friday QR875 at 0055, arrive Doha International Airport at 0425
Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. During 2007, Qatar Airways ordered 80 Airbus A350s, together with 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s. 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
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132