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Qatar Airways Celebrates Spanish Expansion

Madrid, SPAIN – Qatar Airways today spelled out its commitment to the Spanish market helping strengthen commercial and economic ties with the recently-introduced flights to Barcelona – its second route in Spain.

Celebrating five years of flying to the capital Madrid, the addition of services to Barcelona in June acknowledges the importance Qatar Airways places in the Spanish market.

Since the June 7 launch of daily non-stop flights between Barcelona and the airline’s operational hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, Qatar Airways reports the new service proving to be strong. The route was introduced just in time for the busy summer holiday season.

Speaking at a press conference in Madrid today, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline’s Spanish expansion was part of a strategy to strengthen its position in Europe, where the carrier currently operates to 20 destinations – almost 20 per cent of its global network.

“Our Spanish flights give the travelling public easy access to popular business and leisure destinations across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. With daily direct flights to Spain’s two major cities of Madrid and Barcelona, Qatar Airways in return boosts business and leisure traffic to one of Europe’s cultural capitals.

“Qatar Airways has, and will continue to invest in the Spanish market, opening new offices in both cities, creating jobs locally and we are pleased to have a large number of Spaniards working at head office in Doha as cabin crew, pilots and administrative positions.

“Five years ago, when we entered the Spanish market as the only Gulf carrier here, with scheduled flights to this beautiful city of Madrid, Qatar Airways had a global network of routes spanning just 50 destinations. Today, with the network growing far and wide to cover almost double the number of cities with frequency increases on many routes, we are able to give the travelling public here in Spain greater choice and convenience to enjoy our award-winning hospitality and fly to destinations across the world via our Doha hub.”

The Doha – Madrid route began in December 2005 with a three-times-a-week service, which grew steadily up to daily last year operated with an Airbus A330 aircraft in a two-class configuration with up to 24 seats in Business Class and up to 236 seats in Economy.

Al Baker added: “With 14 flights a week between Spain and Qatar and onto a host of connecting international cities, we demonstrate the growing importance of bilateral ties between our two countries. Spain and the State of Qatar enjoy developing relations which are growing from strength to strength.”

Qatar Airways held an official celebratory event last night in Barcelona to mark the launch of its second Spanish route, attracting key leaders from commerce and government. A fifth anniversary event is also planned in Madrid tonight.

The airline’s route development in Spain is part of a wider European growth drive that Qatar Airways embarked on earlier in the year and which has focused on identifying underserved markets across the continent. In addition to Barcelona, Qatar Airways has opened new routes to Ankara and Copenhagen and will also begin operating to Nice by the end of 2010.

In the New Year, Qatar Airways will add four further routes in Europe beginning with the launch of flights to the Romanian capital, Bucharest on January 17. Operated four times a week, the new service will continue on to Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. January 31 marks the launch of five flights a week from Doha to the Belgian capital of Brussels. From March 9, the airline will also introduce Stuttgart to its network with three flights a week non-stop from Doha.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 89 aircraft from its Doha hub to 92 key business and leisure cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.

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.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 pending delivery 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.

Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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