Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of flights to Thailand with expanded operations to help strengthen commercial and economic ties between the two countries.
The recent launch of flights to the holiday island of Phuket and increased frequency on the Bangkok route has doubled the number of flights from 14 to 28 a week between the airline’s Doha hub and Thailand.
At the Qatar Airways’ press conference in Phuket addressing local, regional and international media are Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker (center) flanked by Senior Vice President East Asia and South West Pacific Marwan Koleilat (right) and Country Manager Thailand, Cambodia & Myanmar Joe Rajadurai (left).
Addressing a press conference on the holiday island resort of Phuket, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline’s huge capacity increase reflected the importance of growing ties between Thailand and Qatar.
“Our two countries share a long-standing friendship which has grown from strength to strength,” he said. “Our new Phuket flights will help boost the tourism economy year round on this beautiful island. With strong response to our Phuket services, particularly from across our key European feeder markets, I am delighted to say that we have now upgraded the flights to a daily operation.
“When we announced Phuket as a new destination in June, we saw a huge surge in bookings for the peak winter period. It was a timely launch ahead of the busy holiday season so demand has prompted us to increase capacity. We are the only Middle East carrier flying to Phuket and this new service will help create new jobs and support the local economy beyond the regular seasonal traffic.”
The Phuket route began with six-flights-a-week on October 12, but was stepped up to daily services from November 1. All the flights are routed via the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The airline is celebrating 10 years of flying to Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok this year with the introduction of a new daily flight from November 1, taking capacity up from double to thrice-daily services. The total number of flights between Qatar and Thailand now stands at 28 a week.
“Our new daily flight to Bangkok offers passengers even more choice and further connectivity across Thailand and South East Asia. The additional Bangkok daily service flies onwards to Ho Chi Minh City and onto our newly-introduced route of Hanoi. This gives our passengers greater travel options linking some vibrant cities in this part of the world.”
Four of the new Bangkok flights continue onto Hanoi and three onto Ho Chi Minh City. Passengers originating in Thailand or Vietnam can also purchase tickets to fly between Bangkok and both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Qatar Airways.
The travel market in Asia is experiencing significant growth and one which Al Baker stressed Qatar Airways was well placed to take advantage of.
“IATA statistics have passenger demand in the Asia Pacific region up over 10 percent on the previous year. The timing of Qatar Airways’ expansion drive in Asia couldn’t be better to take advantage of this increase in traffic,” he added.
The launch of flights to Phuket and Hanoi increases Qatar Airways’ Asia Pacific route network to 18 destinations. Globally, the airline has launched a further seven routes since February 2010 – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
Al Baker outlined Qatar Airways’ global expansion plans, highlighting the airline’s focus on targeting underserved routes and maximizing connectivity to key cities beyond Doha. Over the next five months, the airline’s growth focuses on Europe with five new destinations – Nice (November 24), Budapest (January 17), Bucharest (January 17), Brussels (January 31) and Stuttgart (March 9).
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 91 aircraft, flying to 94 destinations across Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.