The Doha-based carrier inaugurated the first of three weekly services to the country’s capital city of Maputo, gateway to Mozambique’s rich natural resources and a source for strong business.
The launch is further testament to Qatar Airways’ strategy to operate to underserved markets that have huge potential for scheduled international flights. Qatar Airways is the first and only airline from the Middle East flying to Mozambique, which becomes its 19th gateway across the African continent.
Flight QR584 arrived in Maputo this morning to a water salute and a welcome by traditional dancers followed by an airport ceremony attended by more than 80 local dignitaries and media.
Guests on the inaugural flight to the former Portuguese colony included His Excellency Cristiano dos Santos, Consul General of the Republic of Mozambique to UAE, responsible for Qatar; and His Excellency Salem Abdullah Sultan Al-Jaber, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Qatar’s Embassy in South Africa with responsibility for Mozambique.
The arrival ceremony at Maputo International Airport was attended by a number of distinguished guests, including Mozambique’s Honourable Minister of Transportation and Communication Mr. Paulo Zucula; CEO of Mozambique Airports Authority Mr. Manuel Veterano; and CEO of Mozambique Civil Aviation Mr. Afonso Sande Cuinhane.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the latest route marked yet another significant milestone for the award-winning airline that has spread its international wings to its 19th gateway in Africa and 10th new route of the year so far.
“With the discovery of large reserves of natural gas, Mozambique is today emerging to be one of the fastest growing economies in the region,” he said.
“With this in mind, Qatar Airways always looks to open up air travel markets which are underserved – and Mozambique is an example of this. Mozambique has historic links with Europe, being a former Portuguese colony, so we look forward to flying passengers with family, or business ties to and from Lisbon through our online points in southern Europe.
“Over the past 18 months, we have opened up a number of routes across Africa, including Entebbe in Uganda, Benghazi in Libya, Kigali in Rwanda and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, demonstrating our commitment to serving the African continent with an extensive route network,” added Al Baker.
Qatar Airways Senior Manager Africa, Rashid Mordiffi, who led a delegation on the inaugural flight, added: “Launching these new flights to Maputo shows our confidence and commitment to this vibrant economy. Being an important port in Mozambique, Maputo is a vital economic supply corridor to neighbouring landlocked countries in Southern Africa and strategically well positioned.
“We have been serving neighbouring Johannesburg and Cape Town since January 2005, two South African routes which have been very successful, so we are extremely pleased to be offering our passengers even more choice with the launch of services to Maputo.
“Qatar Airways will now connect Maputo to key markets across Europe, Far East, Middle East, Asia and the Americas. With our new services, we offer travellers from Maputo with great connections via our Doha hub to such diverse cities as Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Mumbai, New York, Washington and Montreal.
“Similarly, we are opening up Maputo to business and leisure travellers making it accessible from many of our key destinations from around the world,” he said, addressing guests at the arrival ceremony.
Qatar Airways is flying its flagship long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft on the Maputo route, featuring 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 Business Class seats and 293 in Economy. The aircraft also features the airline’s award-winning entertainment system offering a fully interactive audio and video system of more than 1,000 programmes.
Across Africa, the airline flies to 19 cities – Alexandria, Algiers, Benghazi, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Luxor, Casablanca, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro, Kigali, Lagos, Maputo, Nairobi, Seychelles, Tripoli and Tunis.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 111 aircraft to 120 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 Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Yangon (Myanmar).
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Belgrade, Serbia (November 20); Warsaw, Poland (December 5), Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); and Chicago, USA (April 10).
|The DOHA – MAPUTO schedules, effective October 31:|
|Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays|
|Depart Doha||QR584 at 0105 hrs||arrive Maputo at 1040hrs via Johannesburg|
|Depart Maputo||QR585 at 1210 hrs||arrive Doha at 2325 hrs via Johannesburg|
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.