The Doha-based carrier inaugurated the first of three weekly services to the country’s capital city of Belgrade, gateway to Serbia’s historic and cultural attractions.
The airline’s newest route also marks an expansion of its global network, now reaching 121 destinations as part of Qatar Airways’ ongoing commitment to serving emerging and popular markets, both in Europe and further afield.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was joined on the inaugural flight by His Excellency Mihailo Brkic, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia to Kuwait and responsible for Qatar, together with international media.
Flight QR462 touched down in Belgrade and was received by an airport arrival ceremony, where guests were treated to a traditional Serbian folklore dance performance.
The ceremony was attended by more than 50 local dignitaries, VIPs and media, including Qatar’s Ambassador to Romania His Excellency Saad Mohamed Al-Kobaisi; Serbian State Secretary for Tourism, Mr. Goran Petković; and Chief Executive Officer of Airport Nikola Tesla Mr. Velimir Radosavljević.
Al Baker said that the latest route marked yet another significant milestone for the award-winning airline that has now spread its international wings to 31 gateways across Europe and 11 new destinations so far this year.
“Serbia’s capital Belgrade is renowned across Europe for its buzzing nightlife and unique cultural attractions. With world-class entertainment and hospitality on offer, we are very proud to provide both our business and leisure travellers worldwide with new seamless connections to one of Europe’s most exciting and vibrant cities,” said Al Baker.
“As a modern, democratic European country, and well on the path to membership of the European Union, visitors can enjoy numerous cultural, entertainment, traditional and sporting events held in Serbia all year round, demonstrating the creative power and spiritual vitality of this country.
“Similarly, with our new service, we also offer business and leisure travellers from Belgrade with greater connections via our Doha hub to diverse cities such as Johannesburg, Maputo, Kilimanjaro, Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Melbourne, Perth and Dubai.
“2012 has been a very exciting year for Qatar Airways and our ongoing commitment to serving Eastern Europe will be further strengthened when we launch new flights to the Polish capital Warsaw on December 5.
“Our presence in Europe was especially strengthened last year when we launched a record seven destinations to the continent alone, including Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice, Sofia and Oslo.
“I sincerely thank the Serbian Government and the local airport authorities for warmly welcoming Qatar Airways to Serbia and we look forward to welcoming all of our new passengers from Belgrade onboard to experience our world renowned 5-star service,” added Al Baker.
Qatar Airways is flying its Airbus A320 on the Belgrade route, featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 Business Class seats and 132 in Economy. The aircraft offers seatback TV screens providing passengers with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system with a choice of more than 800 audio and video on demand options, together with an SMS text messaging service from each seat.
One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 112 aircraft to 121 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to 11 new destinations – Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Yangon (Myanmar), Maputo (Mozambique) and now Belgrade (Serbia).
Over the next few weeks, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Warsaw, Poland (December 5), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22).
|Belgrade thrice-weekly schedule|
|BELGRADE – DOHA (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays)|
|Depart Belgrade||QR 463 at 1505 hrs||arrive in Doha at 2345 hrs|
|DOHA – BELGRADE (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays)|
|Depart Doha||QR 462 at 0830 hrs||arrive in Belgrade at 1350 hrs|
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. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In October 2012, Qatar Airways became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group.