Qatar Airways continued its 2011 European expansion drive with the launch of daily scheduled flights to the Italian city of Venice.
Also dubbed the “Floating city” with its scenic beauty of canals, Venice becomes Qatar Airways’ third gateway in Italy after Rome and Milan, to where the airline also operates daily flights, bringing the carrier’s Italian presence to 21 services a week.
Flight QR961 touched down at Venice Marco Polo International Airport yesterday to a welcome ceremony attended by airport and government officials, together with local dignitaries.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a high-profile delegation on the inaugural non-stop flight from the airline’s operational hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar. Onboard guests included the Italian Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Andrea Ferrari, as well as international media. Venice becomes the 26th European destination to be served by Qatar Airways – over 25 per cent of the airline’s international network – and the fifth European destination launched so far this year.
Speaking on arrival in Venice, Al Baker said: “We are delighted to add this beautiful, historic city of Venice to our global route network, further cementing our presence in Italy and clearly proving how important this dynamic market is for Qatar Airways.
“We look forward to bringing visitors from around the world to this great jewel of a city and to the great leisure and business destinations in the region. Venice has its natural attraction of canals, a great magnet for tourists from around the world to experience and enjoy.”
Enrico Marchi, Chairman of SAVE S.p.A., the company that manages Venice Marco Polo International Airport said: “Qatar Airways’ new route from Venice to Doha offers a comfortable and efficient link to the Gulf region and beyond. This new service will be much welcomed by business and leisure passengers travelling to a wide choice of Qatar Airways’ onward destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. This new service re-enforces Venice Airport’s position as the leading airport in North Eastern Italy.”
The Venice – Doha route is served with the Airbus A320 featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy. The aircraft offers seatback TV screens providing passengers with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system featuring a choice of more than 700 audio and video on demand options. The aircraft is also equipped with a special OnAir service allowing passengers to use their mobile phones onboard for SMS, MMs and emails.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 98 aircraft to over 100 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Apart from Venice, Qatar Airways has added six destinations to its international map this year – Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Aleppo and Shiraz – and is gearing up for more route expansion with a further eight destinations being inducted into the airline’s global network by the end of 2011.
Qatar Airways was recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Airline Business Class at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.