Berlin, GERMANY – Qatar Airways today announced plans to fly to Brazil and Argentina, spreading its award-winning service to the South American continent for the first time.
South America’s two largest cities – Sao Paulo in Brazil and the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires – will join the airline’s rapidly growing international network over the next few months.
Adding to the five new destinations already planned for 2010, the two South American cities will complete an exciting line-up of new routes for Qatar Airways direct from Doha.
Qatar Airways launched scheduled flights to the southern Indian city of Bengaluru (Bangalore) last month. It plans to serve Copenhagen from March 30; Ankara on April 5; Tokyo on April 26; and Barcelona on June 7 rounding up a busy year for the Doha-based airline. Launch dates for both Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires will be announced in due course.
In addition, Qatar Airways will phase in capacity increases through additional frequencies and deployment of larger aircraft on selected international routes from the beginning of the Northern Summer 2010 schedules on March 28.
These include Geneva, Stockholm, Colombo, Goa, Chennai, Amritsar, Kathmandu, Maldives, Seychelles, Luxor, Shanghai, Guangzhou Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The airline’s state-of-the-art Boeing 777 aircraft – of which there are currently 16 in the fleet – featuring Business Class seats that convert into 180 degree fully flat horizontal beds, will be deployed on the new South American routes and selected existing routes.
The expansion was announced by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker on the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism show being held in the German capital this week.
“These are exciting times for Qatar Airways looking forward to further expansion in line with our committed strategy to develop our global operations to all corners of the world,” he said, addressing a packed press conference in Berlin.
“South America is a prime example of our strategy to fly to far flung destinations from our Doha hub in the State of Qatar. By adding Brazil and Argentina, we can finally say Qatar Airways has become a truly global airline touching all parts of the world – and that only 13 years after we began operations as a small fledgling regional airline.
“When I addressed this same very media forum at ITB Berlin last year, Qatar Airways operated a fleet of 68 aircraft. Today we have grown in strength to 81 aircraft – and in the past three months alone, we have taken delivery of nine brand new narrow body and wide body aircraft from Airbus and Boeing to help fuel our expansion programme.
“As more aircraft join the fleet at a rate of over one a month, we need to identify exciting opportunities to deploy them to increase capacity on existing routes, as well as operate to new destinations.”
From March 30, Qatar Airways begins operations non-stop from Doha to the Danish capital Copenhagen. Starting April 5 and following the success of flights to Istanbul, the Turkish capital Ankara becomes Qatar Airways’ second destination in Turkey.
Beginning April 26, the airline expands its operations to the Land of the Rising Sun with daily flights to the Japanese capital, Tokyo. The flights will be operated from Doha via Osaka, representing a significant increase in capacity for the Japanese market. Seoul, which is currently served via Osaka will be de-linked from the Japanese city to become a daily non-stop service from Doha, beginning March 28.
Starting June 7, Qatar Airways’ European network receives another boost with non-stop flights between Doha and the Mediterranean port city of Barcelona – after Madrid, the airline’s second Spanish destination.
With seven new routes lined up during 2010, Qatar Airways will increase its global portfolio to 92 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia, and North America.
Qatar Airways currently has on order more than 200 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft worth over US$40 billion for delivery over the next few years. The New Doha International Airport, a US$14.5billion facility, is due to open in the Qatari capital next year and is set to become Qatar Airways’ new home.
“Qatar Airways’ robust expansion is continuing undeterred by the current economic climate,” added Al Baker.
“We continue to identify new opportunities around the world to better serve the travelling public. As a network hub airline, Qatar Airways does not rely on traffic from any specific markets, so we are largely immune from the circumstances surrounding the current global economic meltdown.”
Highlights Of Qatar Airways’ 2010 Expansion Programme:-
NEW ROUTES 2010
Bengaluru (Bangalore) DAILY launched on February 22
Copenhagen 4-times-a-week from March 30
Ankara 4-times-a-week from April 5
Tokyo DAILY from April 26
Barcelona DAILY from June 7
Sao Paulo Date to be confirmed
Buenos Aires Date to be confirmed
CAPACITY INCREASES 2010
Phased Capacity Increase From Start of Northern Summer Schedules on March 28
Geneva Upgrade to wide body Airbus A330s
Stockholm Upgrade to Airbus A330s; up from 5 flights to DAILY
Colombo Up from 14 to 21 flights a week (THRICE DAILY)
Kathmandu Up from 14 to 21 flights a week (THRICE DAILY)
Goa Up from 4 to 7 flights a week (DAILY)
Amritsar Up from 4 to 7 flights a week (DAILY)
Chennai Upgrade to wide body Airbus A330s on selected flights
Maldives Up from 9 to 13 flights a week
Seychelles Upgrade to wide body Airbus A330s on selected flights
Luxor Up from 4 to 7 flights a week (DAILY)
Guangzhou Upgrade to Boeing 777s
Shanghai Upgrade to Boeing 777s; up from 5 flights a week to DAILY
Seoul De-linked from Osaka becoming non-stop daily from Doha
Cape Town Upgrade to Boeing 777s
Johannesburg Upgrade to Boeing 777s
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