Jalandhar, INDIA – Qatar Airways today reaffirmed its commitment to India praising local authorities for helping it strengthen air links between the State of Qatar and cities across India with two new routes launched over the past few weeks.
Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said India remained, and will continue to be, a key market for Qatar Airways as part of the airline’s long-term commitment to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Speaking in the northern Indian city of Jalandhar today to celebrate the recent launch of flights to nearby Amritsar, Al Baker said India was the largest single market served by the airline.
Qatar Airways’ maiden flight to the northern Indian state of Punjab landed in the holy city of Amritsar on October 12. Two weeks later, the airline launched scheduled flights to Goa, heralding the arrival of Qatar Airways as the only full-service scheduled global carrier to both destinations.
With Amritsar and Goa both served four-times-a-week from the airline’s Doha hub, Qatar Airways has increased capacity to India to 64 flights a week spread across 10 cities. These include daily non-stop flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Cochin and Kozhikode.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 71 aircraft to 84 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America.
“With 10 cities now served across India, Qatar Airways has built up a formidable network in this wonderful country,” said Al Baker, addressing media at a packed press conference in Jalandhar.
“Qatar and India share a very special relationship and friendship, and we applaud the local authorities for developing air links to this country over the years and help spread our award-winning Five Star service to more points. This has helped Qatar Airways facilitate trade and business between the two countries and beyond, as well as providing a vital air bridge connecting friends and family between India and rest of the world.
“Our new Amritsar flights will greatly help commerce and industry in the city and the neighbouring business capitals of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh for the export of textiles, sports goods and food, manufactured and produced in Punjab, to the Middle East and beyond.”
Qatar Airways will celebrate the Amritsar flights with an outdoor gala dinner held at Bath Castle in Jalandhar later this evening.
Home to the Golden Temple – the holy place of worship for Sikhs – Al Baker explained that the Amritsar route would cater for the well travelled Punjabi community worldwide.He said: “Punjabis have firmly established their home and work in cities across the world, yet have had very limited air access to Punjab for many years with the main option being to fly into Delhi and travel by road or train for the long journey to this part of north India.
“We are delighted to offer this new flight and make it more convenient and accessible for the travelling public.”
Qatar Airways’ passengers flying from North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East to Doha have excellent onward late evening connections to Amritsar with the return flight being early morning departures. The airline is operating the route four-times-a-week non-stop from Qatar’s capital city using a two-class Airbus A320, with 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class.
Al Baker said these were exciting times for Qatar Airways, with three new routes in the space of less than two months at a time when the global airline industry was scaling back capacity and holding back on route expansion.
“We have a robust long-term strategy to continue developing our modern fleet and opening up new routes, undeterred by the current economic situation worldwide,” he said.
“Following the launch of flights to Amritsar and Goa, we look forward to beginning services to Australia on December 6 with non-stop flights between Doha and Melbourne.
Qatar Airways has ambitious plans to develop its international network further during 2010 by adding Sydney as its second Australian destination as well as two further cities in Europe.
|Doha – Amritsar schedules|
Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays
Depart Doha QR298 at 2135 hrs, arrive Amritsar at 0330 hrs the following day
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays
Depart Amritsar QR299 at 0430 hrs, arrive Doha at 0615 hrs
Qatar Airways’ Economy Class has been voted Best in the World in the annual Skytrax passenger survey, in which more than 16 million travellers were polled. Ranked Five Star for service and excellence by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency also voted Qatar Airways’ cabin crew Best in the Middle East for the seventh year running in 2009 and Best Airline in the Middle East for the fourth consecutive year. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways 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. The airline 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.ndiaproject.com
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