Qatar Airways landed in Ho Chi Minh City this morning, marking the first time the Oryx livery has graced the airport of Vietnam’s commercial capital. It was a red carpet affair with specially invited VIP guests disembarking from the inaugural flight to a warm Vietnamese welcome. They were received by the deputy mayor of Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen Trung Tin, officials from the airport and civil aviation authorities.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker addressed the gathering, signalling the new destination as one of growing importance to international trade and tourism. He cited his airline’s role in linking passengers from the Middle East, Europe and North Africa to the growing Asian travel market.
‘The growing economy of Vietnam and its ascension into the World Trade Organisation has seen a large influx of business and leisure visitors to the country. We look forward to attracting passengers to our award-winning Five-Star service here in Ho Chi Minh City,’ he said on arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Al Baker added that it had been a busy two days for Qatar’s national carrier, which has also launched flights to Chennai in southern India and the tropical Indonesian island of Bali.
‘We anticipate trade and travel in this region will continue to expand and view our role as an international airline as one of facilitation and service, both in terms of business travellers and tourists,’
he said, adding that the new flights would provide excellent connections to Europe, Middle East and Africa via the airline’s operational hub of Doha.
The addition of Bali and Ho Chi Minh City sees Qatar Airways’ Far East network increase from 12 to 14 destinations. The airline already serves Hong Kong, Osaka, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Yangon, Manila and Cebu.
Qatar Airways serves Ho Chi Minh City non-stop four-times-a-week with an Airbus A300 aircraft, in a two-class configuration of up to 30 seats in Business Class and 186 seats in Economy.
Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial centre of Vietnam and the new service from Doha, Qatar Airways’ operational hub, is expected to be one of the airline’s star-performing Asian routes.
Vietnam’s acceptance into the World Trade Organisation in November 2006 was seen as a milestone for the country, having worked to open its economy and encourage trade and investment from overseas in accordance with WTO regulations. As a result of these changes, Vietnam is currently the second fastest growing economy in South East Asia and one of the strongest emerging economies in the world.
As a tourist destination, Vietnam is seen as one of Asia’s undiscovered jewels, with an abundance of untouched natural rainforests, mountains and beaches. The country is steeped in French colonial history and diverse Vietnamese culture. It is considered one of the safest places in Asia and consistently features in travel logs and magazines, drawing increasing numbers of tourists.
Qatar Airways currently flies to 75 destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 56 all-Airbus aircraft. The fleet size will more than double in size by 2015. During 2007, the airline’s international operations will grow with exciting new business and leisure routes as highlighted below.
The full list of new routes for 2007 is:-:
? Chennai - DAILY from March 24
? Bali - 4 flights a week from March 24
? Ho Chi Minh City - 4 flights a week from March 25
? Geneva - 4 flights a week from June 28
? New York - 4 flights a week from June 28
? Washington - DAILY from Summer 2007
? Stockholm - 4 flights a week from November 2007
The Doha - Ho Chi Minh City schedules, effective 25 March 2007 are:
Depart Doha International Airport
Tuesday QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Friday QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Saturday QR688 at 0745, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1920
Sunday QR688 at 2359, arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 1135 following day
Depart Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)
Monday QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Tuesday QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Friday QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Saturday QR689 at 2030, arrive Doha at 2359
Qatar Airways is one of only four airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fourth year running in 2006 and second best worldwide following a survey of more than 12 million passengers worldwide.
Qatar Airways plans to more than double the size of its fleet by 2015. The airline has plans to acquire 80 Airbus A350s and 22 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning in November 2007.
The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2009 to coincide with the opening of the New Doha International Airport. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com