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Qatar Airways Rounds Up Successful GCC Roadshow In Muscat To Promote New Houston Route

Muscat, OMAN – In the lead up to the much anticipated launch of daily flights to Houston, Qatar Airways today reached the Omani capital of Muscat, the final stop on its GCC-wide roadshow promoting new flights to Houston.

During the hugely successful and well-received month-long promotional roadshow, which kicked off on January 11 in Dubai, Qatar Airways visited six cities across the GCC, meeting key travel trade and industry partners to highlight the new route.

Led by Qatar Airways Executive Vice-President Commercial Ali Al Rais and a delegation of senior airline personnel, the last stop on the tour is Muscat where media were today briefed on details of the airline’s first new route of 2009. A gala dinner for corporates, travel trade and media takes place in Muscat this evening.

Qatar Airways launches daily non-stop flights between Doha and Houston – the airline’s third US gateway city – on March 30, using Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft featuring unrivalled levels of space and comfort. The route will offer passengers four convenient connections a week to and from Muscat.

The GCC promotional roadshow started in Dubai and then travelled to Kuwait City on January 14 followed by Bahrain on January 18. Qatar Airways’ Doha base was the next port of call on January 25 and three days later on January 28, the event moved on to Abu Dhabi, before concluding here in Muscat today.

Press briefings and gala dinners were held in each GCC location, where local VIP’s, travel industry partners, Privilege Club frequent flyer members and corporates enjoyed an evening of fine dining and entertainment, as well as informative presentations on Houston.

“Qatar Airways is delighted to be adding yet another US city to our international network. Houston is a very strategic route for Qatar Airways, as it opens up increased bilateral business opportunities for the energy sectors in the Middle East and the oil-producing southern states of America,” said Al Rais.

“There exist very close ties between the Arab business community and energy companies in the Gulf with those in and around the Houston area, and we look forward to establishing new air links between these vitally important global energy economies. 

“As part of Qatar Airways’ marketing activities revolving around each new route launch, it is integral to communicate directly with travel partners, industry peers and influential members of the wider community in order to raise awareness of both the destination and the exceptional features Qatar Airways offers.”

The new Houston link will be the Qatar national carrier’s first foray into the southern United States, connecting two significant global energy centres. Houston will complement Qatar Airways’ popular existing US routes to New York and Washington DC, launched in mid-2007. The airline currently offers daily non-stop flights between Doha and both New York’s JFK International Airport and Washington Dulles.

The airline will fly daily to Houston’s George Bush International Airport offering flexibility and convenience to business and leisure travellers flying to Houston and beyond. At almost 17 hours flying time, the Doha – Houston route will be one of the longest non-stop flights in the world.

Qatar Airways is to deploy a Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft on the Houston route in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business Class. Passengers will be able to enjoy comfortable and spacious seats offering a pitch of up to 78 inches with each seat converting into 180-degree full flat beds.

With a 2–2–2 seating configuration, Business Class passengers are assured of either a window or aisle seat and plenty of space.

In Economy Class, seat space is above the industry average with a pitch of up to 34 inches offering significant leg room, while the 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration is the most spacious of any airline flying to Houston.

Offering a superb experience in all class categories, Qatar Airways is renowned for its internationally acclaimed Five Star service, superior cuisine and on-board entertainment options, additionally earning the credit of being the first Middle East carrier to provide fully flat beds in business class to Houston.

Regardless of class of travel, passengers can enjoy the next generation interactive inflight entertainment onboard with a choice of more than 700 audio and video on demand options. From music, documentaries, movies, sport, comedy, children’s programmes and interactive games, passengers are rest assured of a great choice of entertainment.

Qatar Airways’ launch date of the Houston route was pushed back from last month to March to await delivery in early February of the airline’s first Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 65 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 83 key business and leisure cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America.

Muscat – Houston schedules effective March 30
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
Depart Muscat            QR171 at 0610 hrs, arrive Doha at 0635 hrs
Depart Doha               QR077 at 0940 hrs, arrive Houston at 1800 hrs
Depart Houston          QR078 at 2030 hrs, arrive Doha at 1940 hrs the following day
Depart Doha               QR168 at 2030 hrs, arrive Muscat at 2250 hrs

Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways 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 one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012. 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 is scheduled to open. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com.

The award winning Five Star airline was recently recognised as the world’s Leading Business Class airline at the World Travel Awards. 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.

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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