Qatar Airways is investing heavily in new aircraft, introducing new routes and making significant improvements to its airport infrastructure ahead of next year's opening of the New Doha International Airport. The airline has doubled its fleet size in five years and has launched four new routes this year from its Doha hub - Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara and Tokyo - with three more set to begin in June. Qatar Airways continues to cement its stature as a world leading airline and is one of the select few to uphold its Skytrax Five Star ranking. At the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards, the Doha-based carrier claimed the World's Best Business Class award as well as moved up one spot to become the number three airline in the world amongst more than 200 international carriers. Furthermore, the airline earned the title Best Airline in the Middle East for a fifth consecutive year and received the first ever Staff Service Excellence award for the Middle East.
"When Qatar Airways launched in 1997, the strategy was clear - to develop an international airline with the highest standards," said Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker. "I am delighted to say that we are well on track with our strategy, opening up routes in all corners of the world, introducing brand new aircraft at a phenomenal rate and investing in our existing airport in Doha while the New Doha International Airport is under construction."
Recently, daily flights to Barcelona expanded the airline's network, supporting existing scheduled services to the capital of Madrid. On June 24, the airline will enter South America for the first time with daily flights to the continent's two largest cities - Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Qatar Airways has placed orders for more than 200 aircraft worth over US$40 billion. It currently operates a modern fleet of 82 aircraft to 89 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America. The airline's fleet size is set to rise to 120 aircraft by 2013, and its current global network of 89 destinations is also expected to increase to 120 over the next three years.
Additionally, the New Doha International Airport is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2011. Both runways and the main terminal structure have already been completed. The airport will have a capacity of 24 million passengers in the initial opening phase. The airline will also be opening a new hotel at the airport that is aimed at corporate and leisure travelers, as well as transit passengers.