Qatar Airways has rounded off its 2011 route expansion in China, celebrating new flights to Chongqing and additional frequency to both Beijing and Hong Kong.
The launch of thrice-weekly services to Chongqing – the fifth Chinese destination for the Middle Eastern carrier – together with three new flights to Beijing and four extra frequencies to Hong Kong have significantly boosted operations in the country.
The capacity hike has been introduced across the three cities over a two-week period taking overall frequency across China up from 25 to 35 flights each week.
Qatar Airways launched non-stop scheduled services to Chongqing in south west China on November 28th, just days after increasing frequency on the Doha – Beijing route to daily.
Effective December 2nd, the airline boosted its daily Hong Kong services to 11 flights each week.
Qatar Airways also operates daily non-stop scheduled passenger flights to both Shanghai and Guangzhou, with dedicated freighter services to Hong Kong six-times-a-week.
Speaking at a press conference in Chongqing, chief executive Akbar Al Baker said economic growth in China was clearly a catalyst for the carrier to do more business in the country, already a strong economic partner with the Qatar.
“We have been closely looking at the opportunities that exist in this vast market to provide greater passenger choice and to give both business and leisure travellers more travel options to and from China, where many cities are largely underserved by international airlines,” he explained.
“Chongqing is a prime example of a city, with its large industrial base and population of almost 30 million people, not having sufficient international air access that it so well deserves.
“By entering this market, we have become the only international airline flying westwards from Chongqing, giving easy one-stop access via our Doha hub to destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and South America.
“With Chongqing’s strategic location on the important shipping waterway of the Yangtze River and being a production hub for motor cars, motorcycles, iron, steel, textiles, machinery and electronics, the city has huge market potential for new flights,” added Al Baker during the media gathering at the Sheraton Chongqing.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker spoke in Chongqing earlier
With additional services into both Beijing and Hong Kong, Al Baker said that Qatar Airways was stepping up travel options to and from the popular cities, further cementing its position as an airline of choice.
“We now have five cities on our route map across China, increasing the number of passenger flights from 25 to 35 each week, a significant operational increase in the space of just two weeks marking the end of yet another highly successful year in which we launched 15 new routes,” he said.
“It gives me great pleasure to be celebrating our expansion here in Chongqing, home to the iconic, magnificent Three Gorges.
“We look forward to developing our network further in China, which we believe has plenty more opportunities, particularly inland Chinese cities where demand for air travel is just as high as the traditional coastal gateways.”
Qatar shares a strong relationship with China, based on established trade links.
Qatar is China’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) while exports from China to Qatar centre on mechanical and electrical goods.
Qatar is home to more than 6,000 Chinese nationals, of which over five per cent work at Qatar Airways – 330 employed at head office in Doha and almost 80 in China.
Qatar Airways is also celebrating being recognized as the Middle East’s Leading Airline Business Class by the prestigious World Travel Awards.