At ITB Berlin 2007, the rise of Middle Eastern carriers was much talked about – particularly with Qatar Airways having announced a raft of new destinations over the next few months.
The newest destinations headlining the airline’s summer flight plan are the North American gateway cities of Washington DC and New York, and in Europe, Geneva and Stockholm. The announcement was made by the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker.
These are in addition to four previously announced new routes as of this month – including Lagos (operational as of March 1), Bali, Ho Chi Minh City and Chennai, formerly Madras. All will be routed out of Doha, the carrier’s home base and hub.
Al Baker said the airline was gearing up for an exciting few months of route launches and increased frequencies on existing services.
“2007 is an exciting year for Qatar Airways, celebrating 10 years since our relaunch and we look forward to welcoming passengers on our brand new routes and increased services to provide them with greater choice,” he said. “Our first move into the US market this summer represents an important step in the history of Qatar Airways as we launch not one, but two destinations in North America.”
Meanwhile, the airline has announced increased frequency to several destinations it already serves, including Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Tehran, Vienna and in India, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kochi. The new flights to India are in line with an increased total allowance of 49 weekly flights, up from 30 each week, the airline announced earlier in the year.
Al Baker said that Qatar Airways was continuing its year-on-year aggressive expansion plans averaging 35 per cent annually. The airline expects to have carried 8 million passengers over the current 12-month financial year, which ends on March 31.
“This is phenomenal growth for a young and vibrant airline and we are well on target to achieving our ultimate goal of becoming the best airline in the world. It is highly achievable and we look forward to becoming the airline of choice for passengers anywhere in the world. By expanding our operations, this reinforces Qatar Airways’ strategy of serving key business and leisure cities around the world.”
by Keith J Fernandez
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