Thursday, 8 March 2012

Robust Expansion by Qatar Airways

On March 7 2012, Qatar Airways announced an additional 5 routes in 2012. Iraq, Tanzania, Serbia and Myammar are the countries involved in these new series of new routes. With these additional 5 cities, the number of cities as part of its 2012 expansion plans has increased from 12 to 17. The newly announced destinations included Erbil(Iraq), Baghdad(Iraq), Kilimanjaro(Tanzania), Belgrade(Serbia) and Yangon(Myammar). Qatar Airways has recently launcedflights to the European capital cities of Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan, its first new routes of 2012. Later this month, starting March 21, Qatar Airways will launch daily scheduled services from Doha to the Rwandan capital Kigali, via Entebbe, Uganda. Start-ups to other international destinations around the world namely Zagreb, Croatia (May 9); Perth, Australia (July 3); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); Zanzibar, Tanzania (August 5); Helsinki, Finland (July 16); Gassim, Saudi Arabia (August 2); St.Petersburg, Russia(June 4) and Kiev, Ukraine(June 2). Additional service to the cities of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, London, Milan, Cairo, Algiers, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait have been announced.

Most of these new desination are operated by short-haul aircraft with has a lower capacity. All of the 5 new routes announced are operated by Airbus 320 family aircraft. Qatar Airways which currently operates 41 Airbus 320 family aircraft, with another 56 aircraft which includes 50 Airbus 320neo are yet to be delivered. Due to geographically advantage of Doha, Qatar Airways are able to operate to Europe and most parts of Africa with these smaller aircraft. Passengers from different regions can connect easily through the airline’s Doha hub. Although Europe are facing huge financial crisis, but with double-digit growth recorded in some parts of Africa, it is expected that growth in air travel in the region will be increased, with middle east carriers like Qatar Airways taking full advantage of the situation as a couple of African cities are part of the expansion plans of 2012.

“This year alone will see Qatar Airways take delivery of one new aircraft every 15 days, so as we bring them in, they will quickly be inducted into service and we will continue to look at new opportunities.” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said. Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently operating a modern fleet of 105 aircraft to 112 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

In the meantime, Qatar Airways has also announced its new Boeing 787 at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel show that took place in the German capital. The new Boeing 787 aircraft will feature a total of 254 passengers in a two-class configuration of 22 in Business Class and 232 in Economy. A striking feature of every seat throughout the aircraft will be the award-winning touch screen Android technology control units that will debut on Qatar Airways’ 787s. Passengers will be able to navigate through a truly interactive system, offering more than 1,000 movie, TV programmes, music and gaming entertainment options in a sophisticated and user friendly way, just like the latest smart phones. The touch-screen control unit has a unique dual screen interface allowing passengers to play games on their handheld device while enjoying a movie on their personal screen.

With a 1–2–1 configuration in Business Class, the layout features two less seats than competitors on conventional wide body aircraft, more typical of a First Class cabin where each passenger is assured of direct aisle access. In Economy Class, configured 3–3–3, the Recaro-produced seats embody the very latest in design technology and materials assuring all passengers have a high degree comfort and personal space. Featuring one less seat per row than competitors on other wide body aircraft, the Economy seats promise to offer a totally different travel experience. High quality of cabin product are expected in the airline’s aircraft as it is one of the seven world’s five-stars airline rated by UK’s Skytrax. Qatar Airways is the first Middle East customer of the Boeing 787, with 60 aircraft on order, including options. The Doha-based airline is preparing to take delivery of five 787s during 2012, with the first set to arrive in Qatar this summer. Expecting a further bigger expansion for Qatar Airways when more Boeing 787s and Airbus 350s are delivered to Qatar Airways. The future seems bright for Qatar Airways with more destinations and aircraft being added to the airline.

The Editor

1 comment: