Qatar Airways announced plans to extend its presence in the People’s Republic of China with the launch of flights to a fifth gateway – the western city of Chongqing from November 28. Operating three-times-a-week, the non-stop service from the airline’s hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, will take the carrier’s capacity to China up to 28 flights a week. The airline already operates daily non-stop flights from Doha to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou and four-flights-a-week to Beijing. The new Chongqing services will be operated with an Airbus A330 in a two-class Business and Economy configuration.
With a population of just over 30 million people, Chongqing has a large industrial catchment area and is a prime example of Qatar Airways placing strategic importance into emerging cities around the world.
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport is one of the biggest airports in western China serving a large domestic market with limited international flights. Global access is typically via Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai.
Chongqing is a major manufacturing centre and a key transportation hub located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, a vitally important shipping waterway in China. With Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, it is also one of only four municipalities in China which report directly to the national government.
Main local industries in Chongqing are consumer goods and the processing of food, automobiles, chemicals, textiles and machinery. The city is the largest in China for the production of motorcycles and third biggest for motor vehicles.
Announcing the new route, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “China is clearly one of the world’s most important countries on the international stage, being a pacesetter in manufacturing and helping transform the global economic landscape.
“It is this dynamism of a country that we at Qatar Airways have been monitoring closely and delighted to be part of China’s burgeoning economic growth. With four routes in China already well established, we look forward to adding Chongqing as our fifth gateway by the end of the year.
“Qatar Airways is demonstrating confidence of doing business with partners in China and the opening of Chongqing as our newest route, particularly being an up-and-coming city that is underserved by international airlines, shows our commitment to a vibrant economy.”
Added Al Baker: “On behalf of Qatar Airways, I would like to thank the airport authority in Chongqing, the Chongqing Municipal Government and, indeed, the Civil Aviation Authority of the People’s Republic of China for giving Qatar Airways the opportunity to have an active role in China’s economic success story.
“Since launching our first route to China in 2003 with services to Shanghai, we have steadily grown our business to become the Gulf carrier with the biggest network in the country, flying passengers to and from China, connecting them to all parts of the world via our Doha hub.”
Recently named Airline of the Year 2011 in the prestigious annual Skytrax passenger survey, Qatar Airways continued its remarkable award-winning streak for a young airline in only its 14th year of operations.
Qatar Airways now flies to over 100 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of 98 aircraft. By 2013, the airline plans to serve more than 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 120 aircraft.
Over the last seven months, Qatar Airways has added 10 new routes to its burgeoning global network – Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Stuttgart (Germany), Aleppo (Syria), Shiraz (Iran), Venice (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Medina (Saudi Arabia) and Kolkata (India).
By the end of 2011, Qatar Airways expands its services to the Bulgarian capital Sofia from September 14; Norwegian capital Oslo beginning October 5; Entebbe in Uganda from November 2; Azerbaijan capital, Baku on November 30; and the Georgian capital Tbilisi, also on November 30.