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Qatar Airways Launches Vietnamese Expansion Drive

Hanoi, VIETNAM – Qatar Airways has launched scheduled flights to Hanoi and added frequencies to its Ho Chi Minh City route, nearly tripling the airline’s number of services in and out of Vietnam.

The airline’s Vietnamese expansion marks a new chapter in Qatar Airways’ growth in the Far East for 2010, which also includes the addition of new routes to Tokyo and Phuket, as well as significant frequency and capacity upgrades across the region.

Qatar Airways now operates 11 flights a week from Doha to Vietnam’s two largest cities, up from its previous four frequencies a week to Ho Chi Minh City.

The airline’s new Vietnam schedules took effect from November 1 beginning with Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight from Doha to Hanoi, which touched down at Noi Bai International Airport, following a 10½ hour journey via Bangkok. Hanoi becomes the airline’s second Vietnamese route and is operated four-times-a-week. At the same time, Qatar Airways Ho Chi Minh City services have been boosted to daily.

A ceremony was held following the arrival of the inaugural flight into the capital Hanoi and presided over by senior airport officials and local dignitaries. The welcome included a traditional water salute for the aircraft as it taxied into the arrival gate. On board was an airline delegation and international media led by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who later thanked the authorities for their support in facilitating the latest route developments in Vietnam.

“Qatar Airways appreciates the support provided by the Vietnamese government in allowing us to almost triple the number of flights we operate to the country. The bilateral relationship between Qatar and Vietnam has grown significantly in recent years and this route development is one of the results of this growing friendship,” said Al Baker, addressing a packed press conference in the Vietnamese capital.   

“Vietnam has long been an attractive leisure destination and with the country’s economic strength continuing to build, we are also seeing more business travel in and out of the country. Qatar Airways has introduced its new Hanoi route and placed additional frequencies to Ho Chi Minh City to push our advantage over our competitors and to grow our market share as the country grows.”

He highlighted that Qatar Airways was making use of fifth freedom traffic rights and is selling seats between Vietnam and Thailand on both its Hanoi – Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City – Bangkok routes. Qatar Airways is the only 5-Star ranked carrier operating these routes.

The launch of Hanoi flights sees Qatar Airways’ Asia Pacific route network extend to 18 destinations. Globally, Qatar Airways has launched a further seven new routes since February 2010 – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

Al Baker outlined Qatar Airways’ global expansion plans, highlighting the airline’s focus on targeting underserved routes and maximising connectivity to key cities beyond Doha. The airline’s growth in Europe features strongly with Qatar Airways to introduce five new European destinations over the next five months, including Nice (November 24), Budapest (January 17), Bucharest (January 17), Brussels (January 31) and Stuttgart (March 9).

By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 90 aircraft, flying to 94 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.

The DOHA – HANOI schedules with effect from 1st November 2010 are:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (via Bangkok)

Depart Doha                QR614 at 0050 hrs, arrive Hanoi 1445 hrs

Depart Hanoi               QR615 at 2330 hrs, arrive Doha 0600 hrs + 1 day

The DOHA – HO CHI MINH CITY schedules effective 1st November 2010:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Depart Doha                QR688 at 0700 hrs, arrive Ho Chi Minh City 1820 hrs

Depart HCMC             QR689 at 1950 hrs, arrive Doha 0005 hrs + 1 day

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays (via Bangkok)

Depart Doha                QR616 at 0050 hrs, arrive Ho Chi Minh City 1435 hrs

Depart HCMC             QR617 at 2345 hrs, arrive Doha 0600 hrs + 1 day

Qatar Airways was recently voted as third best airline in the world following the annual Skytrax survey of 18 million international passengers. In the survey, the airline was also voted as having the best Business Class service and catering in the world, as well as being honoured as the Best Airline in The Middle East for the fifth consecutive year.

Qatar Airways also became the first airline to receive the Staff Service Excellence Award for the Middle East. The new award replaces the Best Cabin Staff in the Middle East category, which Qatar Airways has won for the past seven years. The expanded category now includes airline staff at all passenger touch points, including onboard, reservations, check-in and airport personnel.

Qatar Airways has orders for 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline 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.qatarairways.com and www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 44496956, Fax: +974 44620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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