Berlin, GERMANY – Qatar Airways today announced plans to strengthen its presence in North America by adding the southern US city of Houston to its growing international network later this year.
Beginning November 10, the Doha-based airline will launch three flights a week non-stop to Houston using its brand new Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft. Frequency will rise to daily a few weeks later in December 2008. With a capability of flying 17 hours, the Boeing 777-200LR is easily able to operate the Doha – Houston route, which will be one of the world’s longest non-stop flights.
The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker on the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair taking place in the German capital this week.
Qatar Airways launched scheduled flights to the US last summer – first with services to New York, followed three weeks later with non-stop flights to Washington DC. Houston becomes the airline’s third US destination.
The new Houston route will link the two energy capitals of the United States and Middle East and offer business travellers, particularly from the energy sector, with an excellent product.
Houston is home to natural oil resources and more than 5,000 energy-related businesses. Meanwhile, Qatar is home to the world’s third largest gas reserves and is the world’s leading exporter of gas-to-liquids fuel – otherwise known as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
With a population of almost three million people, Houston is the largest city in the State of Texas and is one of America’s most vibrant cities.
Qatar Airways will deploy a Boeing 777-200LR in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business Class and 217 seats in Economy. Business Class has a 2–2–2 seating configuration and Economy Class 3–3–3 seating. The airline currently operates two Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft on the Washington route non-stop, but takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-200LR in November 2008, shortly before inducting it on the Houston route.
The Boeing 777s feature Qatar Airways’ next generation inflight entertainment system offering every passenger in both cabins a choice of more than 700 audio and video entertainment options.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the airline launched its North American operation last summer with flights to both New York and Washington with great success and looked forward to yet further expansion into the southern half of the US during 2008.
“I am absolutely delighted to announce today that Qatar Airways will spread its wings further into the United States by adding yet another city to its small, but growing US network later this year,” he said.
“Scheduled flights to Houston will be launched on November 10, rising a few weeks later to daily operations using our brand new state-of-the-art Boeing 777-200LR aircraft which will give our passengers the ultimate in comfort at 35,000 feet.”
Al Baker added that the next few years will see Qatar Airways widen its North American operation as further cities across the region are being evaluated for non-stop services from Doha.
“With our geographical position in the Gulf linking East and West, Qatar is ideally located for our national carrier Qatar Airways to operate to virtually any point in the world non-stop, helped by the advent of new, longer-range aircraft such as the Boeing 777-200LRs,” he said.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 62 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 81 destinations across Europe, 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 15 million passengers. During the current 2007/08 financial year, Qatar Airways expects to carry more than 10 million passengers worldwide.
The Doha – Houston schedules, effective 10 November 2008 are:-
|Depart Doha International Airport|
|Mon, Wed, Fri||QR077 at 0120, arrive Houston 0915|
|Depart George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)|
|Mon, Wed, Fri||QR078 at 1215, arrive Doha International Airport at 1210 next day|
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 has ordered five of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ 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 Corporate Communications
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