Qatar Airways has brought its service to Hong Kong with its inaugural flight from Doha touching down at the city’s international airport on Sunday.Flight QR812 arrived in the vibrant and colourful city of Hong Kong to a fireman’s salute welcome of the firing of a water arch - never before seen at Hong Kong International Airport. The arrival was also marked by a traditional lion dance, together with a ribbon- and cake-cutting ceremony.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led an official delegation of senior management and officials from the New Doha International Airport on the inaugural nine-hour flight, which also included media from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The first flight was met on arrival by government and airport officials, as well as Qatar Airways Senior Manager Commercial Operations Far East and Australasia, Marwan Koleilat, together with the airline’s Regional Manager Northern Far East, David Chui, and Area Manager Hong Kong, Rocky Kwok.
The welcome party included Sandra Lee, Hong Kong’s Permenant Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, and Hong Kong Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer, David Pang.
Qatar Airways celebrated its first route launch of 2006 with Hong Kong becoming the airline’s 70th destination at the start of the new Summer 2006 flying programme. The daily scheduled service operates non-stop from Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, to Hong Kong - the airline’s third gateway in Greater China.
Qatar Airways already serves the Chinese capital Beijing and commercial centre of Shanghai with four flights a week to each city non-stop from Doha.
Hong Kong becomes Qatar Airways’ 12th Far East destination in a regional route network that already covers Osaka, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon and Jakarta.
Soon after landing in Hong Kong, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said he was delighted to see Qatar Airways spread its wings in the Far East - but in particular into Greater China.
“Qatar has developed very close ties with Greater China and our new service to Hong Kong marks a very significant step to strengthening ties in this part of the world.”
“I am delighted on behalf of Qatar Airways to be here in Hong Kong on this very historic day marking the launch of our daily services from Doha to Hong Kong,” he said.
“Furthermore, we have brought our award-winning Five Star service to the people of Hong Kong and look forward to have them onboard to experience our unique inflight hospitality that we are renowned for around the world.”
“Qatar Airways has a strategy to serve key cities around the world. Hong Kong is a must for any airline to serve - and Qatar Airways is no exception.”
Added Al Baker:
“With the introduction of Qatar Airways’ flights to and from Hong Kong, we are linking not just two key markets, but offering the travelling public with convenient connections to many exciting destinations via Doha to the Middle East, Levant, Seychelles, Maldives, South Africa, as well as Europe.”
“Today also marks the start of a third daily flight from Doha to London Heathrow which offers excellent connections to passengers travelling from Hong Kong to Doha.”
As part of the Hong Kong launch marketing campaign, Qatar Airways has embarked on a brand awareness drive across the city. Buses, underground railway stations and the city’s Airport Express Line station are fully branded with Qatar Airways’ new corporate campaign.
The campaign focuses on evocative images, with headlines asking consumers to evaluate their current choice of airline and provokes them to think about flying with Qatar Airways. The brand message is designed to give consumers a fresh perspective on air travel.
To celebrate the new route launch, Qatar Airways is also offering members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer programme travelling in Business Class with an additional 25,000 Qmiles during the first full month of the Hong Kong flights. This means that after just one round trip, passengers will have sufficient Qmiles for another free trip to Hong Kong in Economy Class.
In addition, Privilege Club members travelling in Economy will receive Double Qmiles for the first full month of the new route.
The new Hong Kong service is operated with the state-of-the-art Airbus A330 widebody aircraft, configured in two classes. Business Class features up to 24 seats reclining 160 degrees in a 2-2-2 configuration, while the Economy cabin has up to 259 seats.
The A330s feature the airline’s award-winning Audio Video On Demand interactive entertainment system, allowing passengers in all classes to choose from more than 40 international movies, as well as short programmes to view on their individual TV screens. Passengers can also listen to an extensive list of 250 CDs and 16 audio channels. In addition, there is a choice of 12 video games to play through the interactive TV screens.
The Hong Kong service is launched in a year when Qatar hosts the 15th Asian Games. Qatar Airways is the Official Airline of the Games, which take place over a two-week period in December.