Kozhikode, INDIA – Qatar Airways today celebrated the launch of its newest international route with direct non-stop scheduled services linking Doha with the southern Indian coastal city of Kozhikode in the state of Kerala.
Flight QR 284 landed at Kozhikode International Airport this morning following the overnight journey from the Qatari capital.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a delegation of high-profile international media from Europe and the Gulf on the maiden flight, arriving in Kozhikode to a traditional Indian welcome ceremony.
Local political, business and airport officials were on hand to receive the first flight, an Airbus A320, which was full to capacity.
Dignitaries included Members of Parliament Shri. P. V. Abdul Wahab and Shri. T.K. Hamsa; President of Malabar Chamber of Commerce Shri. P. Sakeer and Secretary of Malabar Chamber of Commerce Mr. K. Abu Backer.
The new route takes Qatar Airways’ capacity to India up to 58 flights a week spread across nine cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Cochin and Nagpur.
On arrival, Al Baker said: “Today is an example of the tremendous energy that has gone into making our latest route a reality. Following on the success of our three route launches to India last year, our latest addition demonstrates our commitment to the people of India – and to the people of Kerala.”
“I would like to applaud the Indian government and its determined efforts to open up air access for Qatar Airways to more cities across India. I am delighted we are able to spread our award-winning Five Star service to yet another city on the global map.”
Formerly known as Calicut, Kozhikode is Kerala’s third largest city with a population of almost 500,000 people and home to serene beaches, historic sites, lush green scenery and world-renowned Ayurvedic health treatments – a haven for holidaymakers seeking adventure and relaxation.
The new route will have tremendous appeal for expatriate Keralites living and working in the Gulf region, as well as tourists from across Europe and other parts of the world.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 62 aircraft to 83 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, Far East and North America.
Earlier this year, the airline began scheduled services between Doha and the southern Chinese industrial city of Guangzhou. Starting November 10, it launches scheduled flights to Houston which, at 17 hours, will be one of the longest flights in the world non-stop from Doha.
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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