Qatar Airways has inaugurated daily scheduled flights to the western Indian city of Ahmedabad rounding off yet another year of remarkable expansion for the award-winning airline. Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat state, becomes the airline’s eighth Indian destination and 11th new route of 2007. With a population of more than five million people, the former state capital is ranked sixth largest in India.
Flight QR 282 from Doha arrived at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport from Doha in the early hours of this morning with a delegation of senior airline officials and international media onboard.
Addressing a press conference later at Le Meridien Hotel in Ahmedabad, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said he was extremely delighted to see the airline add yet another Indian city to its burgeoning network and spread its award-winning Five Star service further into western India.
‘It’s been an incredible year for Qatar Airways with Ahmedabad being our 11th route launch of 2007 and third new Indian destination of the year,’ he said, explaining that flights to Chennai and Nagpur were also launched during 2007.
‘India today is by far the largest single market for Qatar Airways with a network of eight cities serving Doha non-stop. The Gujarati community is far and wide, living and working across the globe so our new flights would provide a vitally important air corridor linking Ahmedabad, the gateway to Gujarat, with business and leisure destinations around the world.
‘I would like to thank the authorities here in Ahmedabad for giving Qatar Airways such a warm welcome this morning and we look forward to building a strong relationship with the people of Ahmedabad, serving not only this city but the surrounding areas across Gujarat state.’
Ahmedabad established itself as the home of the booming textile industry, earning it the nickname, ‘Manchester of the East’ and was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement.
Added Al Baker: ‘Ahmedabad is one of India’s largest industrial centres, enjoying a strong reputation as an important base for commerce, trade, and tourism.
‘The State of Qatar and India share strong relations which go back many years. Additional flights into India strengthen not only bilateral ties, but also further bridge economic and social links between our two countries.
‘This is reflected by our huge operation here in India. With the addition of daily flights to Ahmedabad, our 81st route, Qatar Airways now operates 51 flights a week between Qatar and eight cities across India - the others being Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Cochin, Hyderabad, and Nagpur.’
Doha-based Qatar Airways serves Ahmedabad with daily flights, non-stop from Doha using an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy.
The airline offers an excellent choice of connections for passengers from India to destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and, even the Far East with a modern fleet of 59 aircraft.
Highlights of Qatar Airways’ route expansion during 2007 included the launch of flights to New York, Washington, Dar es Salaam, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai, Geneva and Stockholm.
With a growing international network, Al Baker explained that more travellers have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ exclusive Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, solely for departing and transiting First and Business Class passengers.
Celebrating its first anniversary last month, the Premium Terminal features facilities including a spa, jacuzzi, duty free, business centre and fine dining restaurants. Built in just nine months, the $90m facility is the world’s first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers.