Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, has embarked on the latest journey of its remarkable expansion by entering the Canadian market for the first time.
The carrier touched down at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport today following its 13-hour non-stop journey from the Qatari capital Doha.
Marking the historic and long-anticipated launch of the thrice-weekly scheduled services between the two cities, Qatar Airways inaugurated the occasion with a ceremony on arrival, including a traditional water salute welcoming flight QR927 to Montreal.
Leading the delegation of VIPs and international media from Qatar, Dubai and India was Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who hailed the newest route as a key moment in the airline’s ever-expanding route map.
Montreal becomes the eighth of 15 route launches by Qatar Airways this year and the airline’s fourth North American gateway, with New York, Washington DC and Houston already featuring in its burgeoning international route map.
Guests at the arrival reception in Montreal included City Mayor Gérald Tremblay; Quebec Transport Minister Sam Hamad; Qatar’s Ambassador to Canada His Excellency Salem Al Shafi; Canadian Charge d’Affairs to Qatar, Gary Luton; and Aéroports de Montreal CEO James Cherry.
Addressing guests soon after arrival, Al Baker said: “This is a proud moment for me, for Qatar Airways and for the State of Qatar as we establish a new air corridor between my country and Canada for the first time.
“I would like to offer my thanks to the Canadian government, Aeroports de Montreal and the people of Quebec for supporting Qatar Airways’ newest route and giving us such a warm welcome with an impressive water salute on arrival.
“I have continuously been asked time and time again when we would spread our wings to Canada, and I am delighted we have finally reached your shores to become the only Gulf carrier serving Montreal. Qatar is a global player in a number of industries, including oil and gas, a sector which both my country and Canada share a common bond.
Added Al Baker: “Qatar Airways is a truly global airline, strategically well positioned to take business and leisure passengers between East and West seamlessly via our transit hub in Doha. Travelling to far away destinations such as Delhi, Mumbai, Seychelles, Bangkok, Singapore, Maldives, Dhaka or Tehran has never been easier for the Canadian public to access, now that we have begun these new flights.”
Aéroport de Montréal President and CEO James Cherry said: “The entire team at Aéroports de Montréal is delighted by the arrival of a carrier as prestigious as Qatar Airways and the addition of such a major destination as Doha, with connections to some one hundred other cities, including eleven in India alone. The arrival of Qatar reinforces our vision for Montréal-Trudeau, which is to accentuate the airport’s role as a hub for travel between North America and Eurasia.”
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, expressing delight at the latest airline to arrive in the city, said: “We are pleased and proud that Qatar Airways has chosen Montreal for its very first direct connection with Canada. From now on it will be easier for residents of our two cities to foster exchanges and promote all kinds of new collaborations.”
And Quebec Transport Minister Sam Hamad said: “It’s an honour for Quebec to now be part of Qatar Airways’ destinations. The arrival of this prestigious five-star airline, combined with the dynamism of the Montreal area, will encourage profitable exchanges in all activity sectors for the citizens of both countries and the surrounding countries.”
Qatar Airways is operating its flagship Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft on the route, configured with 42 seats in Business Class and 217 seats in Economy. Each seat offers a fully interactive audio and video entertainment system with more than 900 programming options to choose from.
Montreal - Canada’s second largest city - in the province of Quebec, is a bilingual metropolis and the second biggest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
A world-renowned city, Montreal is famed for its jazz festivals, universities and is home to the Cirque du Soleil acrobatic shows.
Apart from Montreal, Qatar Airways has added seven destinations to its international map this year - Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Aleppo, Shiraz and Venice - and is gearing up for more route expansion with a further seven cities being inducted by the end of 2011.