The first of 60 Boeing 787s, of which Qatar Airways is the Middle East launch customer, will join the fleet this summer.
With 14 new routes being added to Qatar Airways’ international network during 2012, there was huge interest among visitors keen to learn more about the airline’s global expansion and about the New Doha International Airport, set to open at the end of the year.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker hosted a press conference on the opening day of the five-day event, announcing expansion plans with the launch of flights to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Erbil and Baghdad in Iraq, Belgrade in Serbia and the Myanmar capital Yangon.
These new routes will be part of an overall expansion during 2012, which will also see the launch of previously announced services to the Rwandan capital Kigali starting March 21. Croatia’s capital city Zagreb starting from May 9; Perth in Australia from July 3; and Mombasa (Kenya) on August 15. The European capital cities of Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan were the airline’s first new routes of 2012, which began February 1.
Additional new routes launching this year with dates yet to be announced are Zanzibar (Tanzania), Helsinki (Finland), and Gassim (Saudi Arabia).
During the show, Qatar Airways also announced a number of capacity increases to various destinations, including Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Milan, Algiers, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, and Kuwait City, as well as new cargo flights to Karachi, Johannesburg, Seoul and Muscat.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently operating a modern fleet of 105 aircraft to 112 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
The airline exhibited its latest suite of amenity kits and its newly-unveiled Boeing 787 Dreamliner Business and Economy Class seats, housed in a custom-designed exhibition stand, which was making its debut at ITB.
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 award last summer, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best First Class Airline Lounge.