Qatar Airways moves up Indian routes launch

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

QATAR Airways announced that it will bring forward the launch dates of two new routes – Goa and Amritsar in India – in time for the busy winter holiday season.

Scheduled flights to the northern city of Amritsar will be launched on October 11 ahead of Diwali, the religious festival of lights. Two weeks later, beginning October 25, the beach destination of Goa will be added to Qatar Airways’ growing route network in India.

Both routes will be operated four-times a week non-stop from the airline’s hub in Doha. The two-class Airbus A320s to be used on the route are configured with 12 seats in business and 132 seats in economy.

Passengers flying on Qatar Airways from Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East, will have ideal connections to the late evening departures from Doha to both Goa and Amritsar.

Qatar Airways currently operates 56 flights a week between Doha and India – daily non-stop services to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Cochin and Kozhikode. The addition of Amritsar and Goa will take the company’s Indian capacity up to 64 flights a week.

In March, Qatar Airways unveiled plans to widen its Indian route network by operating the two new routes at the end of 2009.

Chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said that since March there had been much interest about the launch dates, and he was pleased to finally have these confirmed.

“India is by far Qatar Airways’ largest single market in terms of destinations served, and we are extremely pleased to be expanding our wings further into the country,” he said. “There is a huge north Indian community living and working in key markets of the Gulf, United Kingdom, Africa and North America, who will now have an additional gateway to North India with the launch of our flights to Amritsar.”

Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple – the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion. “By bringing forward the launch date, we are able to meet the huge demand anticipated in time for the festive Diwali holidays celebrated by devotees of many religions during October,” said Al Baker.

“Similarly, the Goan community is well travelled with a huge number of people living and working around the world, particularly the Gulf, so our convenient flights would be a welcome relief for those travelling back home.”