Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways today announced plans to further expand its international operations next year with the launch of flights from its Doha hub to three diverse cities – Tokyo, Bengaluru and Ankara.
They will join Qatar Airways’ growing international network over an eight-week period beginning in February 2010.
India’s largest technology hub of Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, will be the first of the three launches, with daily flights beginning February. The addition of Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka will take Qatar Airways’ Indian capacity up to 71 flights a week spread across 11 cities.
During April, the Turkish capital Ankara will be added to Qatar Airways’ burgeoning route network, further strengthening the airline’s position in Turkey where it already operates daily flights to Istanbul.
At the end of April, the Japanese capital Tokyo will be served daily via Osaka, representing a significant increase in capacity for the Japanese market. Seoul, which is currently served via Osaka will become a non-stop direct service from the end of March.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the route expansion further demonstrated the airline’s long-term strategy to develop its international network.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 75 aircraft to 85 diverse business and leisure cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East, North America and Australasia with plans to top 120 destinations worldwide by 2013.
“At a time when airlines globally are retrenching, cutting capacity, trimming staff, parking planes, or cancelling aircraft orders altogether, Qatar Airways is doing exactly the opposite, remaining well on track to offer the travelling public with greater choice of flights and destinations,” said Al Baker.
“Tokyo is Japan’s commercial and financial centre and has been on Qatar Airways’ wish list of destinations for a number of years. It is only now that we are able to serve Tokyo due to new traffic rights and slot availability at the city’s main Narita International Airport.
“The announcement of our new Bengaluru services follows our successful launch of flights to Goa and Amritsar, further cementing Qatar Airways’ position in the Indian market.
“India has been, and remains, one of our most important markets and we are pleased to be strengthening economic and cultural ties with one of the world’s fastest growing economies. With the growth of the Indian economy into a potential global powerhouse and Qatar's drive to spread its economic wings globally, increasing air links between the two countries is of paramount importance.
“And with four-flights-a-week to Ankara, Qatar Airways will significantly increase capacity to Turkey. Our daily flights to Istanbul route have been performing exceptionally well and by adding another destination in this popular country for business and leisure travellers, we look forward to facilitating traffic to and from Turkey.”
Added Al Baker: “Our planning department continues to work actively to identify new route opportunities worldwide. With more than one new aircraft joining our growing fleet every month, we carefully deploy our capacity on existing routes and new routes to meet market needs.”
“Tokyo, Bengaluru and Ankara are examples of our confidence in deploying aircraft to exciting destinations and provide our passengers around the world with great connections over our Doha hub. The fact that we are launching three new routes within the space of eight weeks is indicative of how serious we are in being a key player in the global airline industry despite the current economic conditions.
“By offering more choice, Qatar Airways is able to spread its award-winning Five Star service further afield and give even more passengers the opportunity to experience our hospitality.”
Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 120 aircraft by 2013. The airline has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 24 Airbus A320 Family of aircraft, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. Qatar Airways has aircraft orders for more than 220 jets worth over US$40 billion and is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport would have opened. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com and www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132