Ankara, TURKEY – Qatar Airways is celebrating the launch of scheduled services to Ankara following the arrival of its inaugural flight from Doha to the Turkish capital last night.
With the touchdown of flight QR462 at Esenboğa International Airport, where the aircraft was welcomed by a dramatic water salute and met by senior airport officials and local dignitaries, the airline’s expansion into Turkey took yet another major leap forward.
By adding four-non-stop services a week between Doha and Ankara, the new route strengthens the airline’s operations in Turkey, where it already operates daily flights to Istanbul.
On board the maiden flight into Ankara was Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who led a high-profile delegation, including the Chairman of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority, Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, and key media from across the Middle East.
Qatar Airways is the only Gulf carrier flying to Ankara, operating an Airbus A320 with 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy.
Ankara becomes the award-winning airline’s 88th destination and third new route of 2010. Over the past few weeks, the airline launched scheduled flights from Doha to both Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Copenhagen.
Addressing media at a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Ankara today, Al Baker said: “We are delighted to add Ankara to our international route network and further consolidate our presence in Turkey, clearly proving how important this dynamic market is for Qatar Airways.
“Since we entered Turkey in 2004 with flights to Istanbul, the route’s performance has exceeded our expectations year on year.
“We are confident that our new service to Ankara will be equally as successful helping facilitate travel to and from this wonderful city and beyond for both the business travel community and leisure travellers.”
The new route comes at a time of strong trade between Qatar and Turkey, whose relations have grown from strength to strength and which go beyond political and economic ties.
With a population of 72 million with an average age of 28.5 years, the Republic of Turkey is the 15th largest and one of the most vibrant economies in the world.
Added Al Baker: “Commercial ties between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey remain strong and continue to grow year on year. The two countries very much share the same cultural values and have a like-minded vision, with deep rooted relations, increased bilateral ties and growing commercial exchanges.”
Bilateral trade between the two countries increased five-fold from US$21 million in 2007 to over US$1.2 billion in 2008 with the aim of boosting commercial trade even further to US$10 billion by 2015.
Due to Turkey’s strategic location between the East and West, it represents a robust platform for Qatar Airways’ expansion, as well as for Qatar itself, which is investing into major Turkish projects in the field of real estate, energy and agriculture.
“More than 25 Turkish companies have projects worth over US$8.3 billion in Qatar, including interests in the New Doha International Airport, which is due to be completed next year,” said Al Baker
“There is strong collaboration in fields such as energy, food and agricultural products, infrastructure and health services. Such strong links enable Qatar Airways to facilitate travel and further drive economic ties.”
From Qatar Airways’ Doha hub, passengers can connect to an exciting range of business and leisure destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and South Asia.
These include Maldives, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Osaka, Delhi, Muscat and Melbourne.
Turkey, with its spectacular coastline, cosmopolitan cities and historical sightseeing attractions, remains a highly popular tourist hotspot. According to the United Nations agency, World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Turkey is in fact the third fastest growing tourism destination in the world.
For foreign visitors to Turkey, the new route to Ankara is an ideal gateway when visiting, for example, the famous Cappadocian region, best known for its moon-like landscape with underground cities and houses carved in rocks.
Passengers flying Qatar Airways’ First Class or Business Class through Doha onto connecting cities with the airline will be able to transit through the airline’s exclusive Premium Teminal, where they can unwind and relax enjoying creature comforts of the facilites, including fine dining, spa treatments and duty free shopping.
Ankara is one of Qatar Airways’ seven new routes for 2010.
In February, the airline launched daily flights to India’s IT capital city Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore. Copenhagen flights started on March 30; Tokyo services begin on April 26, complementing the airline’s existing operation to the Japanese city of Osaka; and the Mediterranean port city of Barcelona will be added on June 7.
A highlight for Qatar Airways will be the expansion into South America this summer – completing the airline’s global jigsaw through the addition of another continent to its international route map.
Beginning June 24, Qatar Airways will serve the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo and the Argentine capital Buenos Aires with daily scheduled flights direct from Doha.
The addition of South America will ensure Qatar Airways becomes a truly global airline – a remarkable feat in just 13 years since its launch.
On several long-haul routes such as Doha to Melbourne, Cape Town, Singapore or Shanghai, Qatar Airways operates its flagship aircraft – the Boeing 777 in a two class configuration giving passengers a unique travel experience.
The 2–2–2 configured Business Class seats convert into 180 degree horizontal flat beds, each with a 78-inch seat pitch on par with First Class of many airlines. In Economy Class, the 3–3–3 configuration means one less seat per row compared with competitors and a seat pitch of up to 34 inches offering unrivalled levels of space and comfort. All Boeing 777 passengers have access to individual seat back interactive entertainment offering up to 900 different audio and video touch screen entertainment options.
Today, Qatar Airways operates a modern fleet of 81 aircraft to 88 diverse cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia and North America. The airline has more than 200 aircraft on order worth over US$40 billion.
The Doha – Ankara flight schedules (all times local) are:
Depart Doha International Airport
QR462 FRI, SUN at 0745hrs, arrive Ankara at 1140hrs
QR462 MON, THURS at 1425hrs, arrive Ankara at 1820hrs
Depart Ankara - Esenboga International Airport
QR463 FRI, SUN at 1540hrs, arrive Doha at 1920hrs
QR463 MON, THURS at 2000hrs, arrive Doha at 2340hrs
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. Qatar Airways’ Economy Class has been voted Best in the World in the annual Skytrax passenger survey, in which more than 16 million travelers were polled. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com. Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 120 aircraft by 2013, by which time its global network will rise to 120 destinations. 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. The carrier has aircraft orders for more than 200 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
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132