The FINANCIAL — Qatar Airways has reached a milestone 20th Boeing 777 aircraft with the latest, a brand new B777-200 Long Range, arriving in Doha following a delivery flight from Seattle, Washington on Thursday.
The new aircraft is the seventh Long Range Boeing in the airline’s fleet. Qatar Airways now operates a total of 20 Boeing aircraft including 11 Extended Range (300-ERs), seven Long Range (200-LRs) and two freighter versions.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker announced the order of two additional long range Boeings at the recently concluded Farnborough Airshow 2010 that will be used to target new ultra long-haul markets. An eighth Long Range Boeing is due for delivery in August.
"The Boeing 777-200 Long Range is the longest range commercial aircraft in the world, with Qatar Airways’ versions currently operating non-stop between Doha and Houston, Melbourne and Sao Paulo, the latter route continuing onto Buenos Aires. The airline has yet to announce to which destination(s) the new aircraft will operate," Qatar Airways informed.
“Qatar Airways has a plan to substantially grow its network. In the next three years, the airline will open at least 20 new destinations. With new aircraft deliveries averaging more than one per month, including the 787 Dreamliner from Boeing next year, Qatar Airways is well on track to achieving its goal of 120 destinations by 2013,” Al Baker said.
“The Long Range Boeing offers Qatar Airways the capability to serve virtually any key city in the world non-stop from the airline’s hub in Doha. That provides great flexibility and economics for a network carrier,” he added.
Qatar Airways is already midway through an expansion drive that includes opening 13 new routes over a 12 month period. Seven new routes have been launched since February 2010 including Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Six further routes are scheduled to be launched over a four month period from October 2010, taking the airline’s passenger network to almost 100 destinations. The additions of Phuket (12 October), Hanoi (1 November), Nice (24 November), Bucharest (17 January), Budapest (17 January) and Brussels (31 January) will continue Qatar Airways’ successful business model of targeting new routes in underserved markets.
Qatar Airways was recently voted as the third best airline in the world following the annual Skytrax survey of 18 million international passengers. In the survey, the airline was also voted as having the best Business Class service and catering in the world, as well as being honoured as the Best Airline in The Middle East for the fifth consecutive year.
Qatar Airways also became the first airline to receive the Staff Service Excellence Award for the Middle East. The new award replaces the Best Cabin Staff in the Middle East category, which Qatar Airways has won for the past seven years. The expanded category now includes airline staff at all passenger touch points, including onboard, reservations, check-in and airport personnel.
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 86 aircraft, flying to 92 destinations across six continents.