Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM – Qatar Airways’ second appearance at the International Travel Expo (ITE) in Ho Chi Minh City is a sign of the growing friendship between Qatar and Vietnam, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has said.
The airline remains the only carrier from the Middle East flying to Vietnam, whose exceptional economic growth has given it the status of being a rising “Asian tiger” in one of the most dynamic regions of the world.
“Qatar’s relationship with Vietnam is prospering, and as the nation’s carrier, Qatar Airways is honoured to be able to assist in facilitating strengthening of relations,” said Al Baker.
“The airline expects business and trade exchanges between the two nations to increase, further boosting Qatar Airways’ passenger and cargo traffic on this important route.
“We anticipate new opportunities opening up in the region as Vietnam’s economy continues to develop and Qatar Airways continues to expand,” he added.
Qatar Airways increased it presence at this year’s ITE – the largest travel trade show in Vietnam – following its successful participation in 2007.
The three-day show, which officially ended yesterday, was attended by the tourism ministers of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh; Minister of Tourism for Cambodia, Dr Thong Khon, and the Chairman Lao National Tourism Administration, Somphong Mongkhonvilay were on hand to celebrate the theme of this year’s exhibition: “Three Countries, One Destination”.
Speaking at a press briefing on the sidelines of the exhibition, Qatar Airways Executive Vice-President Commercial Ali Al Rais said he was impressed with the route’s performance since its launch 18 months ago.
“Qatar Airways’ flights between Doha and Ho Chi Minh City have performed exceptionally well and we have seen excellent numbers coming out of this region, helped by Vietnam’s internet-savvy public, as many of our customers here book online,” he said.
“Soon after launching the route with four non-stop flights a week in March last year, we upgraded our aircraft to the state-of-the-art Airbus A330-300 in response to overwhelming passenger demand. We look forward to developing our route to Vietnam even further and hopefully one day we will be able to operate with daily flights to this wonderful country.”
Al Rais added: “Business and leisure passengers from Vietnam and neighbouring countries are able to experience our award-winning Five Star service to Doha and beyond to many exciting destinations across Europe, Middle East and Africa.”
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 63 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 83 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America.
Al Rais emphasised Qatar Airways’ rapid growth, including the airline’s outstanding orders for more than 200 aircraft worth over US$ 30 billion, as well as the US$9 billion development project of the New Doha International Airport, which is scheduled to open in 2011.
About ITE Vietnam: The International Travel Expo is the largest travel trade exhibition in Vietnam. In 2008, ITE attracted 250 tourism officials from 45 countries across Europe and Asia, as well as 110 international buyers from 20 countries.
The annual exhibition is organised by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, and supported by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Trade, and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City. The show also promoted tourism to neighbouring Laos and Cambodia.
About Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways currently has huge expansion plans. It 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. At the Farnborough Air Show in July, the airline also ordered six Airbus A321s. Qatar Airways is due to move to the New Doha International Airport in 2011, 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 sixth year running in 2008 and the airline was voted Best in the Middle East for the third year in a row following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
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