To celebrate 10 years of continuous operations Qatar Airways used the occasion of the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London this month to announce the addition of seven new destinations in 2007, bringing to 77 the total number of cities served by the Airline.
From Europe and Africa to Asia and, for the first time, North America, Qatar Airways will add seven key cities to its route network over the next 12 months. And the airline also confirmed it will take delivery of the first of 20 Boeing 777s next year to operate long haul routes from the carrier's Doha hub.
New Service to Bali
Nigeria's commercial centre of Lagos joins Qatar Airways' network from January 3, followed six days later by Dar Es Salaam, capital of Tanzania.
Qatar Airways will begin flying to the tropical island of Bali from the start of the Summer 2007 season in March, supporting its existing Indonesian operation where the airline already serves the capital, Jakarta.
And Vietnam is also on the horizon when Ho Chi Minh City is set to become yet another destination in Qatar Airways' Asian portfolio next March.
And, for the first time, a Qatar Airways aircraft will land in the United States with daily scheduled flights from Doha to New York, scheduled to begin in Summer 2007.
The US route will be operated non-stop with Qatar Airways' new state-of-the-art Airbus A340-600 aircraft, featuring a unique onboard First Class lounge. The airline was recently the launch customer of the High Gross Weight version of the aircraft, which is currently operating on the Doha Ė London Heathrow route.
In addition; Qatar Airways will fly to a new point in Northern Europe and, for the first time, in Eastern Europe, in the second half of 2007. Details of the two new European destinations are being finalized.
Addressing a press conference at World Travel Market in London, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said 2007 would be a milestone year for the Doha-based airline.
"Back in 1994, Qatar Airways launched operations with just a handful of regional routes with a handful of aircraft," he said.
"The airline was re-launched in 1997 and, almost 10 years on, Qatar Airways now flies an international network covering 70 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Far East.
ďOur fleet has grown sharply to 51 aircraft and we have simply gone from strength to strength carrying more than six million passengers a year representing annual growth averaging 35 per cent. We are well on target to more than double our fleet size to 110 aircraft by 2015."
Added Al Baker: "Our fleet, our destinations and our global network have grown with unprecedented proportions, which is simply the envy of our peers in the aviation industry."
Al Baker also announced that the airline planned to acquire 20 Boeing 777s with deliveries beginning at the end of 2007. With options for a further 20 Boeing 777s, these new aircraft Ė a mix of Extended Range, Long Range and Freighters Ė will be the backbone of Qatar Airways' long-haul, wide-body fleet and used on new routes across North America and Australasia.
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