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Qatar Airways Announces Summer 2008 Expansion

Berlin, GERMANY – Qatar Airways today unveiled its summer 2008 expansion programme with capacity increases to numerous destinations across its global network and the launch of its fourth destination in China – the southern industrial port city of Guangzhou.

A dozen cities will see more flights added to existing frequencies to offer passengers greater choice. Guangzhou becomes Qatar Airways’ first route launch of the year on March 31 and the airline is preparing for its third US destination – Houston beginning on November 10.



From London Heathrow and Milan in Europe, to Johannesburg and Lagos in Africa, to Seoul and Islamabad in Asia, together with further expansion on the New York (Newark) route, Qatar Airways has a busy year ahead.



Expansion highlights include an extra daily flight to London Heathrow taking capacity to Britain’s busiest airport up to four flights a day; Beirut rising to double daily flights; and both Johannesburg and Seoul going up to daily.



Between Qatar and Germany, Qatar Airways operates 24 flights a week – 10 to Frankfurt and daily to both Berlin and Munich. The airline looks forward to opening up further destinations in Germany over the next few years as part of its growth strategy to widen its presence in the German market.



Addressing media at a press conference on the opening day of ITB – the world’s biggest travel fair taking place in Berlin this week – Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline was gearing up for yet another exciting year of expansion.



“Qatar Airways is committed to a growth strategy that will see our fleet of 62 aircraft increase to 70 by the end of the year and almost double to 110 planes by 2013,” he said.



“Our global reach of 81 destinations will extend to more than 100 cities by the turn of the decade and coinciding with the opening of the New Doha International Airport.



“As we take delivery of more aircraft, we are able to consolidate our position by increasing frequency on existing routes and introducing new routes to give passengers greater choice.”



Al Baker explained that in line with the growth strategy, 2008 will see new routes launched to Guangzhou and Houston, together with capacity increases to a dozen cities starting from the end of March, which signals the start of the summer flying season.



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, rising to 21 with the addition of a fifth weekly service to Guangzhou from May 1. Guangzhou and nearby Hong Kong provide excellent twin-centre options.



With excellent connections from Europe, Middle East and Africa to and from Guangzhou, Qatar Airways is boosting its presence in one of the fastest growing economies of the world.  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 Asian Games sporting extravaganza in 2010.



Added Al Baker: “Looking to the future, we have more than 200 outstanding orders for brand new aircraft, which include 80 of Airbus’ next generation A350s and 60 Boeing 787s. Our aircraft delivery schedules will increase to at least one a month from July 2008. And in October 2008, we will take delivery of the first of our Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft.



“The Boeing 777-200LRs will be capable of flying up to 17 hours non-stop and Qatar Airways’ Doha hub is geographically well positioned to operate to virtually any point in the world with this new generation aircraft. Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that our first Boeing 777LR aircraft will be deployed when we launch Doha – Houston services on November 10.



“The Doha – Houston route will be one of the world’s longest flights of around 17 hours. We look forward to offering our customers with the ultimate levels of comfort and service with our brand new Boeing 777-200LRs on the route.”



The Houston service will initially be operated three-times-a-week, rising to daily services a few weeks later in December 2008.



Highlights Of Qatar Airways’ Summer 2008 Capacity Increases:- 



















Non-Stop from Doha
LondonHeathrow –up from 21 to 28 flights a week (4 daily) from March 30
Beirutup from 7 to 14 flights a week (twice daily) from March 30
Bahrain – up from 40 to 42 flights a week from March 30
Geneva – up from 5 to 6 flights a week from May 5
Islamabadup from 2 to 4 flights a week from March 30
Istanbul – up from 5 to 6 flights a week from March 30
Johannesburgup from 4 to 7 flights a week (daily) from August 1
Lagos – up from 3 to 4 flights a week from March 31
Lahore – up from 2 to 4 flights a week from March 30
Milanup from 4 to 7 flights a week (daily) from May 1
New York – up from 5 to 6 flights a week from May 5
Seoul (via Osaka)up from 6 to 7 flights a week (daily) from March 30
  
New 2008 Routes
Guangzhou – 4 flights a week from March 31, rising to 5 flights beginning May 1
Houston3 flights a week from November 10, up to daily from Dec 2008

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.


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.


Doha-based Qatar Airways is one of the launch customers 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 Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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