Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar is set to make its debut in Canada with the launch of scheduled flights to Montreal, effective June 29.
Canada's second largest city will be served with three-flights-a-week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using the airline's flagship Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft. The non-stop journey from the airline's hub in Doha to Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport will be a total flying time of 13 hrs 20 minutes.
The destination marks Qatar Airways' first foray into Canada following a series of bilateral negotiations in Doha last year, when the airline secured rights to fly passenger and cargo flights to the country.
The province of Quebec's capital city becomes the airline's fourth destination in North America. The award-winning airline, ranked Five Star for service, excellence and high standards, currently operates daily flights to New York, Washington and Houston.
The highly anticipated Doha – Montreal route will facilitate trade and leisure business, providing seamless connectivity for travellers from east to west. With Qatar Airways' extensive network of destination across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Far East, the airline will offer excellent connections over Doha to and from Montreal.
Qatar Airways is the first Gulf carrier to operate flights to Montreal, a city renowned for its festivals and arts scene, being home to the well established international dance troupe Cirque du Soleil, the IMAX cinemas, aircraft manufacturing company Bombardier and top-ranked universities world-wide, McGill and Concordia.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: "Yet again, we are announcing another new chapter in our remarkable short history with a move into Canada and a strengthening of our North American operations.
"It truly is a milestone to bring Canada and, in particular, Montreal, into the Qatar Airways' family of international routes. The introduction of our Montreal service will provide a strong transportation link between Canada and Qatar and further facilitate the already strong economic ties between our countries.
"According to the government agency Export Development Canada, there are more than 1,500 Canadian companies doing business in the Gulf and Qatar, in particular, is one of Canada's largest trading partners in the Middle East.
"With the oil and gas industry being a key connection that naturally aligns us, we hope that as soon as our thrice-weekly service is well-established and boosts the Qatari and Canadian economy to receive additional traffic rights for a daily operation to Montreal.
"Montreal is one of the most sought after destinations in the world and we hope to have paved the way for expanded capacity into Canada and operate to additional cities in the future. There is natural demand for travel from many parts of our international network to Canada, and thanks to our scheduling we are able to offer convenient connections over Doha," he added.
These include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Beirut, Tehran, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Mumbai and Karachi.
Aeroports de Montreal's President and CEO James C. Cherry said: "We are extremely pleased to welcome Qatar Airways, one of the most prestigious airlines in the world. We certainly can take pride as this new non-stop service to Doha is a huge asset for Greater Montreal and once again confirms Montreal-Trudeau as a truly international airport."
During a visit to Qatar last year, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan, revealed that the first Canadian Embassy in Qatar was expected to open in the capital Doha during Summer 2011. Van Loan said there were immense business opportunities tapping into Qatar's burgeoning economy. These include legal firms, engineering consultancies and construction companies.
Qatar is home to more than 3,000 Canadian citizens and two Canadian university satellite campuses, The College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary.
Canadian nationals arriving in Qatar may enter the country without prior visa arrangements. Passengers with Qatar as their end destination may enter by obtaining a visa on arrival, a service extended to 33 countries, with Canada being one of them.
The Boeing 777 on the Montreal route has a two-class operation, offering 42 seats in Business in a spacious 2–2–2 cabin layout, with a seat pitch of 78 inches that is already the envy of competitor airlines as the seats stretch into lie-flat beds, a key demand of the corporate traveller.
In Economy, the Boeing 777 offers 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a pitch of up to 34-inch, which is among the most generous of any international airline flying wide-body aircraft on long-haul routes.
The in-flight interactive entertainment system offers a choice of more than 900 audio and video on demand options, available to every passenger in both cabins.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 94 aircraft to 98 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
The airline started off the year with a focus on Europe, launching three new destinations on the continent – Bucharest, Budapest and Brussels.
On March 6, Qatar Airways adds Stuttgart to its global network, followed on April 6 with new flights to the historic Syrian city of Aleppo – the airline's milestone 100th destination. Flights to Shiraz, Qatar Airways' third gateway in Iran begin on June 5, followed 10 days later on June 15 by scheduled services to Venice, the carrier's third destination in Italy.