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Qatar Airways Rounds Off Busy Year with Delivery of Four New Aircraft in December

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways has taken delivery of four new aircraft this month, wrapping up an eventful 2009 for the Doha-based airline.

With the largest delivery schedule in a single month for Qatar Airways, the two Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft and two Airbus A320s take the airline’s rapidly-growing fleet size up to 76 aircraft.

Qatar Airways currently has outstanding orders for more than 220 aircraft worth over US$40 billion. With a planned delivery schedule of more than one new aircraft a month over the next few years, the new aircraft deliveries will replace older aircraft and boost the fleet to maintain a young and modern portfolio of planes.

The latest arrivals round up a busy year for Qatar Airways, which saw the airline take delivery of a total of 11 new aircraft; launch four new routes – Houston, Melbourne and two Indian destinations of Amritsar and Goa; order 24 Airbus A320 family of aircraft; and set up a new corporate jet subsidiary, Qatar Executive.

One of the two newly-delivered Boeing 777-200LRs will be used to step up frequency on the recently-launched non-stop Doha – Melbourne route from the current three-flights-a-week to daily beginning January 1. The other Boeing 777-200LR has been deployed on flights to the Far East. Qatar Airways now operates 13 Boeing 777s – eight of the 300-Extended Range and five 200-Long Range versions.

The two-class Boeing 777-200LRs feature 42 Business Class seats in a 2–2–2 configuration with each of the 78-inch seats converting into 180 degree horizontal flat beds, and 217 Economy seats in a 3–3–3 layout offering up to 34-inch pitch. All seats provide personal touch screen seat back television screens with more than 900 interactive audio and video entertainment options.

The newly-inducted A320s feature 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy. They are the first deliveries of the airline’s 24 Airbus A320 family of aircraft ordered at the Paris Air Show in June. The remaining 22 narrow body aircraft, which includes 18 Airbus A320s and four A321s, are due to be delivered over a two-year period ending in December 2012.

Featuring state-of-the-art technology with individual seat back TV screens, every passenger will be able to experience personal audio and video on demand entertainment options on Qatar Airways’ new fleet of narrow-body aircraft for the first time.

The new single-aisle A320s, operating on selected routes in the Middle East, Europe and South Asia, feature a wide choice of movies, TV programmes in different languages, as well as up to 500 international CD albums. The TopSeries system, which also includes interactive games, has been developed and installed by French company, Thales.

Qatar Airways’ existing narrow-body fleet comprises eight Airbus A321s, 11 A320s and two Airbus A319 Long Range aircraft. Six of the aircraft – four Airbus A321s and two A319s – will be retrofitted with the new Thales entertainment system over the next few months.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said deliveries of the latest aircraft demonstrated a commitment by the airline to develop its fleet size and continue to offer the travelling public with the latest inflight features.

“Today’s consumer is becoming more demanding and, we at Qatar Airways, recognise the need to remain at the forefront of the aviation industry by flying modern aircraft and offer the best levels of comfort and inflight amenities,” he said.

“The additional Airbus A320s and A321s give Qatar Airways a firm footing in the rapid development and expansion of our regional network, while the Boeing 777s are quickly emerging as the backbone of our long-haul and ultra long-haul flying programme.

“Our short-haul passengers are now able to have a different flying experience with entertainment at their fingertips. Over the next few months, more and more passengers will experience the new inflight product as the airline takes further deliveries of these narrow-body aircraft.”

Added Al Baker: “Our latest order demonstrates Qatar Airways’ strong commitment towards continuing its aggressive global expansion strategy. Despite the current economic climate hanging over many economies around the world, Qatar Airways continues to build on a clear long-term strategy to develop its operations globally.”

The year 2009 saw Qatar Airways operate the world’s first commercial passenger flight using fuel made from natural gas from London to Doha; expand its exclusive Premium Terminal for First and Business Class passengers at Doha International Airport; open a brand new transit terminal at the airport; and announce in December alone, six new routes for 2010 – Ankara, Tokyo, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Barcelona and Sydney.

The airline continued its award-winning streak with accolades from leading independent audit Skytrax. Qatar Airways was named Best Economy Class in the world; maintained its exclusive Five Star ranking; voted  Best Cabin Crew in the Middle East for the seventh year running; earned the title of Best Middle East carrier for the fourth consecutive year; and being named World’s Leading Airline – Business Class for the second year running at the World Travel Awards.

Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 120 aircraft by 2013, by which time it will fly to 120 cities worldwide. The airline has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 24 Airbus A320 family of aircraft, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s. 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
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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