Budapest, HUNGARY – Qatar Airways has launched flights to Hungary with the airline’s inaugural scheduled service touching down in the capital Budapest, marking yet another chapter in its growth strategy.
Budapest becomes the airline’s 23rd destination in Europe and 97th overall in an expansion drive that has seen Qatar Airways launch 12 new routes over the past 12 months. Six of these have been destinations in Europe and the airline plans a further two new European routes with Brussels and Stuttgart being launched by the end of the current 2010/11 financial year
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a high-profile delegation on the airline’s inaugural flight which included Hungarian Ambassador to Qatar H.E. László Szabó, international media and airline executives. Flight QR943 arrived in Budapest to a traditional water salute welcome.
Speaking at a press conference in Budapest yesterday, Al Baker said Qatar Airways’ new four times weekly service was a key component of the airline’s route development across Europe.
“Qatar Airways is delighted to be serving the Hungarian people with our award-winning Five-Star services. Our goal for Europe has always been to expand to new countries while continuing to offer travellers a high quality travel experience, as well as provide the convenience of a large and diverse network. Budapest is a great asset to Qatar Airways’ network and we sincerely look forward to growing this route with additional capacity in the future,” said Al Baker.
He added that the Budapest route had created new connections between the Middle East and Asia Pacific for passenger traffic in and out of Hungary.
“Hungarians no longer have to backtrack to congested European airport hubs to reach destinations across the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Likewise, travellers from these regions will benefit from the convenience of our new services to Hungary via our Doha hub,” added Al Baker.
Budapest Airport Chief Executive Officer Jost Lammers added: “We are delighted to welcome the first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Budapest. This event is a real milestone in the life of our airport, since it links a very important region – the Gulf – directly with Budapest.
“The regular service of Qatar Airways offers a wide choice of transfer opportunities for both business and leisure travellers not only to other Middle Eastern destinations through Doha but also to the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia and Australia. The start of Qatar Airways’ flights to Budapest will add an interesting tourism destination to Gulf region passengers in Central Europe.”
Qatar Airways is the only Gulf-based airline with a Five-Star ranking operating flights to and from Budapest, which is served with an Airbus A320 aircraft, the newest of which features seat-back TV touch screens accessing over 700 audio and visual interactive entertainment programmes. The aircraft features 12 Business Class seats and 132 Economy Class seats.
Hungary is one of the top 20 most visited places in the world with most of the tourism traffic coming from within Europe. However, Qatar Airways’ newest European route is expected to draw increased tourism numbers to Budapest from the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.
Globally, Qatar Airways has launched 12 new routes since February 2010 – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Phuket, Hanoi, Nice, Budapest and Bucharest. Three additional destinations will be launched in the first half of 2011, including Brussels (January 31), Stuttgart (March 6) and Aleppo (April 6), which will become the airline’s 100th destination.
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 94 aircraft, flying to 97 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
The DOHA – BUDAPEST (via Bucharest) schedules with effect from 17th January 2011 are:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Depart Doha QR943 at 0815 hrs, arrive Budapest 1345 hrs
Depart Budapest QR944 at 1500 hrs, arrive Doha 2355 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.
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 44496956, Fax: +974 44620132