Venice, ITALY – Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has reinforced the strategic importance of the airline’s ongoing expansion in Europe following its latest route launch to Venice.
The world-renowned tourism hotspot became Qatar Airways’ fifth new European destination launched this year following a major European expansion drive by the Doha-based carrier.
Just in time for the busy summer holiday season, the new route promises to be highly popular among leisure travellers heading to Venice to see the stunning Piazza San Marco, experience romantic gondola rides or just enjoy “La Dolce Vita”, the Italian expression for the “Good Life”.
With the start of daily flights from the Middle East to one of Europe’s most romantic cities, award-winning Qatar Airways has established itself as the only Five Star ranked airline serving Venice, offering its customers the highest levels of service and in-flight experience.
Speaking at a press conference in Venice, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker spelled out the airline’s commitment to the Veneto region and Italy in general, helping strengthen commercial and economic ties with the newly-introduced route.
“With our new daily service to Venice, we have yet added another famous European city to our growing network and look forward to bringing visitors from the Middle East, Africa and Asia and Australia to this year round tourism destination.
“Likewise we are confident that the Italian travelling public will welcome our new service, which brings exotic holiday destinations such as the Maldives and the Seychelles and vibrant business destinations such as Shanghai and Singapore closer to Italy to convenient and easy connections via Doha.”
“Venice Airport and local authorities have been very supportive, recognising the benefits the new Qatar Airways service will bring to the travelling public in Italy and businesses of the Veneto region,” he added.
Built on water starting more than 1,500 years ago, Venice attracts a staggering 20 million tourists each year and is one of the 40 UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy.
However, Venice is not only a market for leisure traffic. North Eastern Italy and the Veneto area belong to the most dynamic and economically powerful regions in Italy and are the home of many shoe, textile and eyeglass manufacturing companies with high export activity.
Leading international fashion brands such as Diesel, Replay, Geox and United Colors of Benetton reside in close proximity, making Venice a vibrant commercial centre with also great potential for Qatar Airways’ cargo business.
While Venice has a relatively small population of around 270,000 inhabitants, the nearby cities of Bologna, Verona and Trieste collectively have a catchment area of over six million people, representing over 10 per cent of Italy’s total population.
With the launch of daily flights between the carrier’s Doha hub and Venice, the “City of Canals” becomes Qatar Airways’ third Italian gateway after Rome and Milan, to where the airline also operates daily services.
Qatar Airways operates a modern Airbus A320 featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy on the Venice route. Passengers are offered seatback TV screens in all classes with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system featuring a choice of more than 700 audio and video on demand options. Furthermore, the aircraft is equipped with a special OnAir service allowing passengers to use their mobile phones onboard for SMS, MMs and emails.
Over the next few months Qatar Airways will launch a further eight new destinations planned from Doha:
- VENICE, Italy: June 15 Daily non-stop flights take Italian network up to three cities
- MONTREAL, Canada: June 29 Debut in Canada with introduction of thrice-weekly flights
- MEDINA, Saudi Arabia: July 14 4-flights-a-week – airline’s fourth Saudi Arabian gateway
- KOLKATA, India: July 27 Daily flights take airline’s Indian network up to 12 destinations
- SOFIA, Bulgaria: September 14: 4-flights-a-week strengthen Eastern European presence
- OSLO, Norway: October 5: 5-flights-a-week – airline’s third Scandinavian route
- ENTEBBE, Uganda: November 2: Daily non-stop flights
- BAKU, Azerbaijan: November 30: Daily non-stop flights
- TBILISI, Georgia, November 30: Daily via Baku
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of over 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 98 aircraft, flying to more than 100 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
The DOHA – VENICE daily schedule with effect from 15th June:
Depart Doha QR961 at 08.50 hrs, arrive Venice 14.10 hrs
Depart Venice QR962 at 16.40 hrs, arrive Doha 23.25 hrs
Qatar Airways has been voted third best airline in the world following the annual 2010 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 will operate a fleet of more than 120 aircraft by 2013, by which time its global network will rise to over 120 destinations. The airline has orders for more than 200 aircraft 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.
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 44496956, Fax: +974 44620132