qatar airways launches flights to stockholm
Qatar Airways yesterday launched scheduled flights to Stockholm – its first Scandinavian destination – becoming the only airline from the Middle East to serve the Baltic region.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a delegation of head office airline officials and Qatar-based journalists onboard flight QR091 as it departed Doha for the Swedish capital, marking the launch of the carrier’s 80th destination.
Airport managing director Kerstin Lindberg Goeransson was joined by fellow officials, tour operators and corporate guests at Stockholm Arlanda International Airport to welcome the inaugural flight as it landed this morning to a red carpet ceremony and Swedish entertainment.
Stockholm is Qatar Airways’ second European route launch of the year, following on from this summer’s new services between Doha and Geneva. Qatar Airways now operates scheduled flights to 80 cities worldwide with a modern fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft.
Addressing officials and media on arrival in Stockholm, Al Baker said Qatar Airways was honoured to be the only airline from the Middle East to operate direct flights to Scandinavia.
“It is a great pleasure to see our aircraft in Scandinavia for the first time and indeed become the only carrier from the Middle East to serve this region,” he said.
“Stockholm, in particular, was chosen because of the huge amount of business and tourism interest in this wonderful scenic city and its surroundings. Our new flights will contribute to bridging links between two very different parts of the world.
“We welcome Swedish passengers and customers from across Scandinavia to enjoy our award-winning Five Star service from Stockholm to Doha and connecting onto our wide network of flights across the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and Far East.”
Al Baker explained that the addition of Stockholm reinforced the airline’s strategy to serve key cities around the world. With the likes of New York, Washington, Geneva and Ho Chi Minh City added to Qatar Airways’ global network this year, he said Stockholm was yet another important city in its burgeoning portfolio of exciting destinations.
Qatar Airways operates four non-stop scheduled flights a week between Doha and Stockholm, one of Europe’s strongest economies. The Doha-based airline is operating an Airbus A319 in a two-class configuration of eight seats in Business Class and 102 seats in Economy.
Sweden is Europe’s third largest country in size with a population of nine million people. Its capital Stockholm is the largest city in Scandinavia with a population of around 800,000 inhabitants, similar to Qatar. The city is built on 14 islands, which are connected by 57 bridges and embraces a unique character of its 13th century Old Town and modern high-tech architecture.
Sweden is the largest market in the Baltic Sea region attracting the highest numbers of business travellers and tourists among all Scandinavian countries.
With highly developed firms in the construction, environmental technology and telecommunication sectors, there are already significant business tie-ups between Qatar and Sweden – and indeed the entire Scandinavian region.
With a growing international network, Al Baker said that more travellers would have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for departing First and Business Class passengers.
Celebrating its first anniversary this month, the Premium Terminal features facilities including a spa, jacuzzi, duty free, business centre and fine dining restaurants. Built in just nine months, the terminal is the world’s first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers.
Qatar Airways is one of only five airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 12 million passengers. During the 2006/07 financial year, Qatar Airways carried more than 8 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways’ award-winning Privilege Club won an unprecedented eight accolades at the annual US-based Freddie Awards, designed to honour loyalty programmes across the global travel industry. For more information, visit www.qmiles.com
Doha-based Qatar Airways will have a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2015 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, together with 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2009, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com