Guangyuan, CHINA – Senior executives from Qatar Airways were special guests at the official opening of a school in Sichuan province, central China, where re-building efforts continue in the aftermath of the 2008 earthquake which devastated the region.
The newly-constructed school, a joint project with China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), was officially named the Qatar Airways Hope School following a ceremony attended by local officials, CYDF members, airline executives and students.
In the weeks following the 8.0 magnitude earthquake which wiped out villages and towns throughout Sichuan province, Qatar Airways announced a partnership with CYDF to support its Project Hope programme aimed at building schools across rural China.
The airline pledged to donate funds to build a school in Guangyuan in the north of the province, as well as erect temporary structures for interim learning centres during the construction of the permanent school which caters for 500 students.
In total, over 7,000 school buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, and almost 5,000 lives were lost in Guangyuan alone.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that the school in Guangyuan represented a new beginning for hundreds of children who had suffered great loss.
“We are humbled to be a part of the re-building process in Sichuan province, and Qatar Airways wishes that all children who are educated at this new school enjoy a bright and prosperous future,” he said.
“The 512 earthquake created devastation on a massive scale and moved many to action. Qatar Airways wanted to contribute something substantial and long lasting to help those most vulnerable and most in need. We decided to support the building of the Qatar Airways Hope School as a means to alleviate the suffering of the children and assist in the rebuilding of their lives.
“The Project Hope School will be a lasting monument to Qatar Airways’ commitment to China and the Chinese people,” added Al Baker.
The school opening ceremony was attended by Qatar Airways’ Singapore-based Senior Vice President Commercial East Asia & South West Pacific Marwan Koleilat and Qatar Airways Country Manager Greater China Mr Woo Yew Seong. The two had travelled specially to celebrate with the school’s new pupils.
Receiving artwork from the schoolchildren, Koleilat said: “Being able to see children study in these new classrooms is an extremely gratifying moment for me. This is what Qatar Airways set out to achieve two years ago when we committed to Project Hope, and now these kids will have the opportunity to learn as well as follow their dreams and become valued members of this community.
“Our greatest reward is seeing that our efforts could make a worthwhile contribution to these children and to education in China,” added Koleilat.
Qatar Airways currently operates 23 scheduled flights from across four cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong every week to the airline’s operational hub at Doha International Airport in the State of Qatar. The airline recently introduced its flagship Boeing 777 aircraft on the Guangzhou and Shanghai routes and has also boosted its Shanghai services to daily non-stop flights.
The airline will launch its first services to South America on June 24, when it commences flights to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways will provide the quickest flight times from China to South America with a connection time of around two hours in Doha.
About Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 84 aircraft to 90 diverse cities across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America. The airline has over 200 aircraft pending delivery worth more than US$40 billion. In China, Qatar Airways operates from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong with offices in all these cities as well as Chengdu.
Qatar Airways’ unique Premium Terminal in Doha provides dedicated facilities for First and Business Class passengers in an atmosphere similar to a luxury hotel. Premium passengers enjoy separate dining areas, exclusive duty free shopping, a dedicated business centre plus a spa, Jacuzzi, sauna and massage service in First Class.
Ranked Five Star for service and excellence by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency also places Qatar Airways among the world’s top three carriers. At the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Qatar Airways was awarded World’s Best Business Class, Best Airline in the Middle East for the fifth consecutive year, World’s Best Business Class Catering, and the Staff Service Excellence Award for the Middle East. The awards are compiled from results of the annual Skytrax passenger survey in which almost 18 million travellers were polled over a 10-month period. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com.
About China Youth Development Foundation: The China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) is a national non-profit and non-governmental organisation based in Beijing. The CYDF works to develop Chinese youth through education, science and technology, culture, physical education, health, and environmental protection. The CYDF is best known for launching and managing Project Hope which aims at boosting education in poor remote regions of China
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