Qatar Airways is expanding its operations across India with the launch of two new routes and the introduction of additional capacity on existing services.
Beginning April 2007, Chennai in southern India, and Ahmedabad, in western India, will join Qatar Airways’ burgeoning Indian network, which already includes non-stop services from Doha to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum.
Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, and the Gujarat capital of Ahmedabad, will each be served with seven flights a week from the start of the Summer 2007 flying season.
With immediate effect, the Doha-based carrier has been granted rights by the Indian government to increase capacity to the country’s commercial capital of Mumbai and the southern city of Trivandrum with its bigger, state-of-the-art Airbus A330 aircraft - almost doubling the number of seats on both routes, each served daily.
The Cochin and Hyderabad flights will see frequency increase by two and three flights, respectively, to give both cities a daily operation, and each served with a two-class Airbus A321.
Qatar Airways normally operates 30 flights a week between Doha and five cities across India. Under the new bilateral arrangement, the airline will serve India with 49 flights a week. The increase has been made possible following a successful round of bilateral negotiations in New Delhi this week between the governments of Qatar and India.
During the Indian government’s current temporary open skies policy for Winter 2006/07, Qatar Airways has been granted rights to operate 42 flights a week, effective from December 15 until January 31, 2007.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was ecstatic with news of the expansion and thanked both the governments of India and Qatar for their diligent bilateral negotiations.
“This is tremendous news for the travelling public and Qatar Airways,” he said, addressing a packed press conference at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi.
“India is one of our key markets, sustainable due to the high demand for our popular services to five important cities. Qatar Airways has been eyeing new opportunities across India for some time, and I am extremely thankful to both the Indian and Qatari authorities for their successful negotiations to open up the market to more flights.
“The Indian government has demonstrated that it is keen and willing to open up its market to more competition and this has to be good news for the consumer. More flights mean more choice.
“Our expansion further strengthens ties between both countries which goes back many years.”
Added Al Baker: “2007 will be yet another year of huge growth for Qatar Airways - a year in which we celebrate a milestone 10th anniversary of operations.
“Chennai and Ahmedabad will be joined by New York, Bali, Ho Chih Minh City, Lagos, Dar Es Salaam and two points in eastern and northern Europe in 2007, together with the first of our 20 Boeing 777 long-range commercial aircraft - so what a year we have in store.”
Al Baker said the expansion reinforced the message that Qatar Airways was one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, with 70 destinations served from Doha to cities across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Far East.
With a growing international network, he added that more travellers would have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ brand new Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for departing First and Business Class passengers.
The Premium Terminal features facilities such as a spa, jacuzzi, duty free, business centre and fine dining restaurants. Built in just nine months, the terminal is the world’s first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers.