Hyderabad, INDIA – Qatar Airways celebrated another milestone in its remarkable short history by announcing its fleet size has grown to 80 aircraft – double the size of five years ago.
The airline has inducted its 15th Boeing 777 into the fleet and maintains a delivery schedule of more than one new aircraft a month, retaining its status as one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.
The newest Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft will serve long haul routes from the airline’s operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar. The aircraft is part of a larger order for more than 220 different aircraft worth over US$40 billion placed in recent years.
With the fleet set to grow to 120 aircraft by 2013 and current global network of 86 destinations also expected to rise to 120 by 2013, Qatar Airways is continuing its expansion strategy with vigour.
“Yet again, Qatar Airways is demonstrating its continued commitment to growth, a strategy set in 1997 when the airline was launched under the auspices of The Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ,“ said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
Addressing media in Hyderabad during India Aviation 2010, the country’s second International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation, Al Baker said Qatar Airways was forging ahead with expansion at an unprecedented rate.
He was speaking as Qatar Airways debuted at this year’s Air Show with a dedicated chalet showcasing its award-winning Five Star hospitality and displaying two aircraft – a Boeing 777-200 Long Range version and a Bombardier Challenger 300, which is part of the airline’s new corporate jet subsidiary, Qatar Executive.
“Just five years ago, Qatar Airways operated 40 aircraft. Today our fleet has doubled in size to 80 aircraft. As our fleet increases, we are able to raise capacity on existing services and introduce new routes which is continuing as planned despite the industry facing challenges amid the current global economic climate,” said Al Baker.
“Qatar Airways set out a long-term vision to be a world leader with innovative inflight service using the most modern and efficient aircraft in the skies today. This is what gives us an edge over our competitors and, rest assured, we will maintain and step up our momentum to reach our ultimate goal of being the Best Airline in the World.”
Last week, Qatar Airways embarked on its aggressive 2010 expansion programme with the launch of daily non-stop flights between Doha and Bengaluru (Bangalore), the State capital of Karnataka. It was the first of several planned new route launches this year.
Beginning March 30, scheduled flights are set to be introduced to the Danish capital of Copenhagen; April 5 sees the Turkish capital Ankara coming on line; April 26 is the launch date of daily flights to the Japanese capital, Tokyo; June 7 sees Barcelona added to the network.
Formerly known as Bangalore, flights to Bengaluru take Qatar Airways’ Indian capacity up to 71 services a week spread across 11 key points – Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Cochin, Kozhikode, Goa and Amritsar.
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR passenger aircraft on static display in Hyderabad during the five-day Air Show features a total of 259 seats (42 seats in Business Class in a 2–2–2 configuration and 217 seats in Economy in a 3–3–3 configuration).
The Boeing 777-200LR flies on ultra long-haul routes of up to 17 hours non-stop, such as Doha to Houston and Melbourne.
With 32 Boeing 777s on order, including passenger and cargo aircraft, these will form the backbone of the airline’s long haul fleet. The aircraft operates on many long-haul routes and also serves selected destinations in India and across Asia.
Business Class passengers are able to enjoy comfortable and spacious seating offering a pitch of up to 78 inches with each seat converting into 180-degree fully flat horizontal 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.
Added Al Baker: “With a flying range of up to 17 hours non-stop, our Boeing 777 LRs and ERs offer passengers the ultimate in comfort and service to long-haul destinations non-stop from Doha. The aircraft also features unrivalled facilities, which certainly provide our competitors with something to think about.
“With a 78-inch Business Class pitch, our 42 premium seats are undoubtedly the best in the Middle East. And our Economy seats offer the greatest levels of comfort in this cabin than any other airline in the region.”
Regardless of class of travel, passengers can enjoy the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system with a choice of more than 900 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 touch-screen entertainment through the airline’s Oryx Entertainment system. Both Business and Economy class cabins offer in-seat PC power supply.
The Bombardier Challenger 300 aircraft on display in Hyderabad is one of three corporate jets in the airline’s subsidiary Qatar Executive, launched six months ago to serve the Middle East’s expanding corporate business travel market.
With eight reclinable leather seats in a luxurious configuration, the Challenger 300 features premium fittings and has a range of up to 2,800 nautical miles – enough to fly as far as South East Asia and Europe non-stop from Doha.
Being a subsidiary of a well-established Five Star-ranked airline, Qatar Executive leverages on its extensive expertise and experience so VVIP travellers can be rest assured of the highest standards of comfort and reliability provided by highly trained and experienced flight and cabin crew.
Statistics from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) show that the corporate market in the Middle East has grown at an average of 13 per cent a year since 2000. Nine years ago, there were 200 corporate jets based in the Middle East, more than doubling in size to 450 in 2008 with estimates of further growth over the next few years.
According to CAPA, the corporate jet market in the Middle East is estimated to be worth between US$500 million and US$700 million a year.
Added Al Baker: “Forecast growth in the Middle East corporate jet market is expected to be between 15 and 20 per cent until 2012, so there is a clear opportunity for Qatar Airways to capitalise on this trend, hence the creation of our business unit, Qatar Executive.”
The trend towards using corporate jets is also fuelled through the growing number of secondary airports in less populated areas now available in the region, making travel to remote areas much easier, which is especially valuable to oil and gas companies.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 80 aircraft to 86 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia and North America.
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 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
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132