Qatar Airways in Africa expansion plan


IN line with stated plans of tapping the African business and leisure sectors, Qatar Airways has announced its schedules to the Nigerian city of Lagos with scheduled flights to Nigeria’s commercial and business capital beginning on March 1.

This will be the airline’s second route launch of this year and follows the success of its new services to the east African city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania at the beginning of January, the airline is preparing for further expansion on the African continent.
The airline will operate three flights a week between its hub in Doha, capital of Qatar, and Lagos using the airline’s state-of-the-art Airbus A330 aircraft, in a two-class configuration of business and economy.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country with 130 million people and, apart from cocoa and rubber, its main industry is petroleum and related products. It is currently one of the world’s biggest oil producers.
With natural oil and gas the mainstay of Qatar’s economy, there are significant business and commercial interests in bridging links between both countries.
With the addition of Lagos, Qatar Airways will operate a wider African network that spans the entire continent, from Casablanca in the west and Cairo in the north to Nairobi in the east and Cape Town in the south.
“Lagos is a vitally important commercial and business centre and with the strong oil and gas interests in both Qatar and Nigeria, we expect a high level of business on the route, as well as from key feeder markets of the GCC countries,” said airline chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker.
The Doha-based airline looks forward to 2007 as a year of huge expansion with non-stop scheduled services planned to several key destinations around the world, including Bali, New York, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai, Ahmedabad and two, as yet to be announced, cities in northern and eastern Europe.
Lagos will be destination number 72 for Qatar Airways, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, which operates scheduled flights from Doha to cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Far East with a fleet of 53 all-Airbus aircraft.
With a growing international network, Al Baker added that more travellers would have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ brand new Premium Terminal at Doha airport, exclusively for departing first and business class passengers.

Readers of US-based Global Traveler magazine have voted Qatar Airways Best Airline in the Middle East – a fitting accolade in a year when the Doha-based airline prepares to launch flights to America.
The airline was awarded the honour after 13,653 readers participated in the seven-month survey.