Qatar Airways entered 2008 in buoyant mood after a spectacular year of growth which saw the Doha based carrier launch 11 new routes, order 172 aircraft and introduce the first Boeing jet into its burgeoning fleet.
Since the airline’s launch as an international carrier, Qatar Airways has been an industry innovator, from day one achieving several ‘world firsts’ which are remarkable for such a young, vibrant and developing airline, according to a company spokesperson.
With the world's first dedicated passenger terminal for first and business class passengers, built at a cost of almost $100 million at Doha International Airport, the airline’s Premium Terminal has been commended in its first year of operation.
The airline, which celebrated its 10th year of flying in 2007, saw the Premium Terminal – with its spa, jacuzzi, fine dining, exclusive shopping, business centre and serene water features – ranked among the top three premium lounges in the world by aviation industry audit, Skytrax.
Skytrax once again honoured Qatar Airways' cabin crew as being the best in the Middle East for the fifth year in a row - a significant achievement in a highly competitive industry where the highest levels of service and standards must be maintained to ensure passenger appeal.
In 2007, Qatar Airways reached an historic milestone with 60 young and modern aircraft in its fleet, flying passenger and cargo services to 81 destinations worldwide.
From its first foray into North America having launched flights to New York and Washington, to its entry into the Scandinavian market through scheduled services to Stockholm and finishing 2007 with a network of eight cities across India, Qatar Airways has enjoyed a busy past 12 months.
New routes and additional frequencies on existing services will be the airline's strategy going forward into 2008 as part of a concerted drive to maintain average annual growth of 35 per cent.
Qatar Airways sees the North American market as a vitally important air corridor and after starting its own direct services to the region from Doha, together with entering into a highly successful codeshare partnership with United Airlines, the carrier sees strong potential to grow further in this market.
The airline is constantly in the headlines, helped by the vision of its dynamic leader Akbar Al Baker, who has been at the helm as chief executive officer since the airline's launch in 1997.
Looking to the future, Qatar Airways is cementing its ties with US aircraft manufacturer Boeing by taking deliveries of its Boeing 777 Long Range and Extended Range aircraft over the next three years. A total order of 32 Boeing 777s will ensure these aircraft become the backbone of Qatar Airways' long-haul fleet, giving passengers the comfort and space they demand.