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Qatar Airways hails inaugural business travel market in London a huge success

Qatar Airways hailed its partnership of the inaugural Business Travel Market in London a huge success with the two-day event attracting hosted corporate travel buyers from across Europe. The Doha-based airline was honoured to be the main Platinum sponsor of the show, held at the ExCeL Conference Centre in east London.

Qatar Airways used the show as the platform to announce the global roll-out of its Qbiz corporate travel rewards programme for small- and medium-sized companies, and also revealed December 6 as the launch date of its Australian flights to Melbourne. 

Hundreds of visiting European corporate travel buyers were hosted by show organisers and had invitations to Qatar Airways’ VIP Hosted Buyer Lounge, where they enjoyed the airline’s award-winning Five Star hospitality.

Delegates were also able to sample the airline’s inflight experience on the Qatar Airways exhibition stand by trying out its new long-haul Business Class seats, which convert into fully-flat beds.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the show lived up to its promise of attracting key corporate travel buyers.

“These are the very people who book travel for their employees. With corporate travel budgets constrained in the current economic climate, it is vital that travel companies like ourselves remain at the forefront to help establish, renew and build on relationships,” he said. “The Business Travel Market was a perfect opportunity for Qatar Airways to showcase its wonderful hospitality to European corporate travel buyers, and indeed rest of the travel industry present at the show. Qatar Airways has signed a three-year commitment for sponsorship of the show and we look forward to being back in London next year.”

Qatar Airways’ UK Area Manager Rachel Finn said that Business Travel Market was an exciting addition to the travel industry calendar. “Business Travel Market has been a terrific platform to conduct business. The quality of the VIP hosted buyers has been outstanding and we were delighted to have participated with a number of successful and constructive meetings having taken place during the two days.

“There was an incredible amount of interest among corporates in our QBiz travel rewards programme, which we officially announced and rolled out globally at the show. A number of corporates signed up. With corporates and travelling employees able to earn QMiles through the airline’s Privilege Club loyalty programme each time they fly, the added value benefits of our new corporate travel programme far outweigh programmes offered by our competitors.”

The show also attracted positive response from hosted buyers.

Lee Whiting, UK Travel Manager for HSBC Bank, said: “Overall the show was very good. Qatar Airways’ sponsorship and VIP lounge worked extremely well.” Geoff Allwright, Head of Travel and Expenses at Airbus, added: “The Qatar Airways VIP lounge was fantastic for meetings – superb service, fantastic food. I’ll definitely be here next year.”

Business Travel Market’s sponsorship director Mark Harris said: “We are pleased that Qatar Airways has been so supportive of our inaugural event, and we look forward to welcoming their team next year.”

During the show, Qatar Airways was visited by officials from Tourism Australia, the country’s tourism body, to announce the official launch date of the airline’s new Melbourne flights from December 6. The new service will offer UK travellers with an excellent one-stop service from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester. Qatar Airways currently flies 42 times-a-week between the UK and Doha, Qatar Airways’ operational hub.

The airline also held a raffle draw on the second day with Julia Heesterman, Microsoft’s European, Middle East and Africa Travel Manager, winning a couple of return tickets to Melbourne.

Qatar Airways connects passengers around the world with more than 80 key business and leisure destinations using a modern fleet of 68 Boeing and Airbus aircraft. By 2013, the fleet size will almost double to 110 aircraft with more than 200 aircraft on order worth over US$40 billion for delivery over the next few years.