Qatar Airways has embarked on its 2010 global expansion programme with the launch of scheduled flights to the southern Indian city of Bengaluru (Bangalore).
Flight QR226 arrived in the country’s IT capital city – dubbed India’s Silicon Valley – in the early hours of the morning of 23 February following its maiden non-stop overnight journey from the airline’s hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.
Bengaluru, the State capital of Karnataka, becomes the first of several new route launches being planned by Qatar Airways during 2010.
Scheduled flights are set to be introduced to Copenhagen on March 30; Ankara on April 5; Tokyo on April 26; Barcelona on June 7 and Sydney at a date to be confirmed, together with a raft of capacity increases on many other routes worldwide.
Formerly known as Bangalore, the launch of daily flights to Bengaluru takes Qatar Airways’ Indian capacity up to 71 services a week spread across 11 key points – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Cochin, Kozhikode, Goa and Amritsar.
Home to India’s largest IT software industry, Bengaluru also has some of the country’s most affluent colleges and research institutions with numerous public sector companies across the aerospace, telecommunications and defence industries.
With excellent connections from Europe, Middle East, Africa and the United States, the new route is expected to be popular among expatriates returning to Bengaluru and the international business community having strong commercial links with the city.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said it was only a matter of time before Bengaluru became part of the carrier’s expanding family of routes in India which he described as “one of the airline’s most strategic markets.”
“I am delighted that Bengaluru has finally joined our rapidly growing international network, which further demonstrates our commitment to give the travelling public greater choice,” he said.
“This new strategic air link fosters a stronger partnership between India and the State of Qatar and further provides excellent connectivity through our flights to rest of the world via Doha.”
As part of its promotional efforts, members of Qatar Airways’ award-winning Privilege Club frequent flyer programme can earn up to 28,000 bonus QMiles, depending on the country of origin, when they fly on the new Bengaluru route.
Added Al Baker: “These are exciting times for Qatar Airways. With our first new route of 2010 successfully launched, we look forward to further global expansion to some exciting destinations over the next few weeks and months. Watch this space for announcements of further expansion that will include new routes and capacity increases to many destinations worldwide.”
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 79 aircraft to 86 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia and North America.
On the Doha – Bengaluru route, Qatar Airways is operating an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy. There are four flights per day from London Heathrow to Doha, as well as daily flights from London Gatwick and Manchester International.