Phuket, THAILAND – Qatar Airways has launched its second destination in Thailand following the commencement of scheduled flights to Phuket.
The Thai holiday resort island becomes the airline’s 93rd destination and the eighth new route launched by Qatar Airways so far in 2010. The flights operate from Doha to Phuket via Kuala Lumpur and are scheduled to provide connections from several of Qatar Airways’ key markets in Europe, which form the bulk of tourist traffic to the holiday island.
The Phuket services are part of an overall capacity increase to Thailand which sees Qatar Airways boost its Doha – Bangkok frequencies from twice daily flights to triple daily effective from 1st November.
An arrival ceremony took place following the inaugural flight which landed at Phuket International Airport on Tuesday night. Senior government and airport personnel presided over the official welcome.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that the airline’s route to Thailand’s largest island reinforced the airline’s commitment to target underserved markets.
“Visitor numbers to Phuket are on the rise and Qatar Airways will look to take advantage of our European connections from countries like Russia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and other parts of Europe to bring them to Phuket. Foreign visitors are expected to top 4.5 million in 2010 and with only a handful of airlines offering flights from Europe, the opportunity is there for us to acquire market share,” said Al Baker.
On board the airline’s first flight to Phuket was Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Commercial East Asia & Southwest Pacific Marwan Koleilat, who said that the airline will also target outbound business traffic from across the southern Thai province.
“As the second wealthiest region in Thailand, Phuket Province is an ideal city for Qatar Airways to serve. It has a population of over 1.5 million, which swells during the tourist season, and the airline is ready to welcome onboard local executives and, in particular international hotel brands who will benefit from the convenience and connectivity that this flight creates,” said Koleilat.
Koleilat thanked the local authorities for their efforts and assistance in supporting Qatar Airways in establishing the new route. He also commented that Qatar Airways will exercise fifth freedom traffic rights which allow the airline to sell tickets between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur.
The launch of Phuket flights sees Qatar Airways’ Asia Pacific route network extend to 17 destinations. Globally, Qatar Airways has launched seven new routes since February 2010 – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Six further routes are scheduled to launch over the next six months, including Hanoi (November 1), Nice (November 24), Budapest (January 11), Bucharest (January 11), 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 89 aircraft, flying to 93 destinations across Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
The DOHA – PHUKET schedules via Kuala Lumpur, with effect from 12th October are:
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Depart Doha QR624 at 0150 hrs, arrive Phuket 1615 hrs
Depart Phuket QR625 at 1735 hrs, arrive Doha 2330 hrs
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays
Depart Doha QR622 at 0820 hrs, arrive Phuket 2230 hrs
Depart Phuket QR623 at 2359 hrs, arrive Doha 0610 hrs
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
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