Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, speaking during the press conference
Qatar Airways is to significantly increase flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the introduction of a fourth destination and additional services to existing markets, representing a dramatic 71 per cent rise in frequency.
The western Saudi city of Medina becomes the Doha-based airline’s newest destination in the Kingdom with four-flights-a-week, beginning July 14. Medina is the second holiest city of Islam after Mecca and home to the three oldest mosques in the Islamic religion.
The Doha – Medina route will be operated non-stop with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in First Class and 132 in Economy.
The new route launch is in addition to increased capacity to Saudi Arabia’s two largest cities – the capital Riyadh and Red Sea port city of Jeddah, which will each see their daily services rise to double daily, effective June 1.
Riyadh sits in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula and is one of Saudi Arabia’s fastest growing cities. Jeddah is also the main entry point for pilgrims making the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Also from June 1, the eastern city of Dammam will see capacity increase from the current 21 flights a week to 28. Dammam, the third largest city in Saudi Arabia, is the capital of the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province and a key commercial hub and port in the Kingdom.
Qatar Airways is operating a mix of narrow-body Airbus A320s and wide-body Airbus A330s and its flagship Boeing 777 aircraft on flights to and from Saudi Arabia.
The capacity increases help facilitate the growing religious tourism industry in Saudi Arabia. And the extra frequencies provide added convenience for both business and leisure travellers, offering greater connectivity to an array of international destinations served by Qatar Airways across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America via its Doha hub.
Over the past 12 months, Qatar Airways has strengthened its international route network with the launch of flights to many cities, including Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Tokyo, Ankara, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Phuket, Nice, Hanoi, Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart and Aleppo.
With a host of other cities coming on line over the next few months, including Shiraz, Venice, Montreal, Sofia and Oslo, there is even greater choice for passengers to and from Saudi Arabia.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The extra flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are a welcome boost to our schedules, for our passengers and also towards our commitment to the market.
“Saudi Arabia is the largest of the GCC countries and a natural market for Qatar Airways to step up its presence. We are delighted to be facilitating travel to and from the Kingdom and look forward to building on what are already strong links between our two countries, the State of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
For customers living in Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways has a dedicated reservations telephone number, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The reservations telephone number is: +966 92 000 1159.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 97 aircraft from its Doha hub to 100 key business and leisure cities worldwide.