Carrier to start three new flights

Qatar Airways ... expansion trail.

Qatar Airways has announced plans to launch three new destinations, bringing the total number of cities served by the carrier worldwide to 31.

The launch of the new destinations is part of a comprehensive expansion plan for the airline to develop its route network.

Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline would very soon launch routings to Casablanca, Milan and Riyadh.

The news comes just three months after the airline introduced flights to Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, and Jakarta.

Al Baker is committed to expanding the company as a whole in parallel to this network enhancement. He has announced plans to double the fleet by 2004, and to increase the size of the business by 60 per cent through the same period.

To facilitate this expansion plan, Qatar Airways has signed a deal with Airbus worth $750 million. Qatar's national carrier has placed firm orders for five A330-200, with the option of three to follow.

Al Baker has announced that the first of the A330 is expected to be delivered on May 10 this year, with the second due this July, the third and fourth in March 2003, with the final firm delivery for February 2004.

The airline has signed a deal with GEC, worth $120 million, to equip the A330s with CF6-80E1A3 engines.

The aircraft will have a three-class configuration with 12 first, 18 business and 206 economy class seats.

Beyond this high capacity of 238 passengers, the service is also set to be of an impeccable standard with state of the art entertainment systems, seat-back television screens for all classes and the cutting edge in comfort with newly designed Sogerma seats.

The airline said the launch flight to Casablanca will be on May 31. The airline will operate three flights per week, using the high capacity A300-600R aircraft.

The flights which will offer convenient connections from other areas of GCC will be operated on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Flight QR550 will leave each Wednesday and Friday from Doha at 1am Doha time, arriving in Casablanca at 6.15am local time. The Sunday flight QR552 will leave Doha at 12.15pm, arriving in Casablanca at 5.30pm.

The return flight QR551 will leave Casablanca on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9.15am, arriving in Qatar at 7.45pm while the Sunday flight QR 553 will leave on Sundays from Casablanca at 7pm and arrive at 5.30am the next day.

Qatar Airways will fly to Milan four times a week from June 6 using the A300-600R aircraft with 12 first class, 18 business, and 194 economy passengers.

QR035 will fly on Wednesdays and Sundays from Doha at 1.45am and arrive at 7.25am local time. On Mondays and Fridays, QR033 will leave at 12.45pm, arriving 6.30pm.

The return flights QR036 will fly on Sundays and Wednesdays at 11.45pm from Milan and arrive in Doha at 7pm while QR034 will leave Milan on Mondays and Fridays at 10.15pm arriving the next morning at 5.30am.

The airline said flights to Riyadh will begin on April 1 and operate twice weekly.

One of the fastest growing airline, Qatar Airways operates an exclusively Airbus fleet which consists of A300-600Rs, A320s and is soon to include the A330-200. It is the launch customer for the newly developed ultra-capacity A380 and the Airbus Corporate Jetliner ACJ319.