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Published: Wednesday February 3, 2010 MYT 12:18:00 PM

Qatar Airways expands to South East Asia

DOHA: Qatar Airways has begun a major expansion of its online operations in South East Asia including boosting frequencies and upgrading aircraft equipment deployed to the region, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

The South East Asian expansion comes following Qatar Airways’ announcement that it will add five new routes to its network in the first half of 2010.

According to the report, the recent addition of four frequencies a week to the airline’s daily services from Kuala Lumpur to Doha takes the total to 11 flights a week, while Bali has moved to a daily operation via Singapore, up from four weekly flights previously served through Kuala Lumpur.

The airline’s flights from Jakarta to Doha have been de-linked from Singapore and the airline now operates a dedicated non-stop service between the Indonesian and Qatari capital cities.

Flights from Singapore, Bali and selected services from Kuala Lumpur have been upgraded to aircraft from the airline’s growing Boeing 777 fleet.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777s feature 42 horizontal flat-bed seats in Business Class and up to 293 seats in Economy Class.

Speaking at the Singapore Air Show, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said:

“Qatar Airways strategy is to expand its international network to key global destinations, served through our operational hub in Doha, while enhancing our existing services with more frequency and more capacity.

“The airline recognises the growth potential in the Far East and we are confident of making further inroads into the market by growing these existing operations.

“We endeavour to operate a young fleet of aircraft where safety and service is paramount. With an average aircraft age of three years, we offer our passengers a higher quality product than our competitors.”

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President East Asia & South West Pacific Marwan Koleilat said Asia remained a key growth market.

“We are excited to be able to start 2010 in South East Asia with such a positive message for the travelling public. We are already receiving an excellent response in terms of forward bookings and are confident that the potential for further growth exists in the region,” he said.

Qatar Airways 2010 expansion in the Far East will also see the airline launch daily services to Tokyo, as well as boost its Korean operations, introducing a non-stop direct flight between Seoul and Doha, as well as equipment upgrades on other routes.

The Doha-based carrier plans to launch Bengaluru (Bangalore), Ankara, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Barcelona between February and June, which will bring the airline s route network to 90 destinations. Sydney is also likely to join the airline s network in 2010.

Qatar Airways operates 14 Boeing 777 aircraft, the first of which joined the fleet in November 2007 with another 18 Boeing 777s on order.-Bernama

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