Qatar Airways adds resort island of Phuket to network
Monday 18, October 2010
Qatar Airways has launched its second destination in Thailand following the commencement of scheduled flights to Phuket.
The Thai holiday resort island becomes the airline’s 93rd destination and the eighth new route launched by Qatar Airways so far in 2010. The flights operate from Doha to Phuket via Kuala Lumpur and are scheduled to provide connections from several of Qatar Airways’ key markets in Europe, which form the bulk of tourist traffic to the holiday island.
The Phuket services are part of an overall capacity increase to Thailand, which sees Qatar Airways boost its Doha – Bangkok frequencies from twice daily flights to triple daily effective from November 1.
An arrival ceremony took place following the inaugural flight into Phuket International Airport. Senior government and airport personnel presided over the official welcome.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that the airline’s route to Thailand’s largest island reinforced the airline’s commitment to target underserved markets.
“Visitor numbers to Phuket are on the rise and Qatar Airways will look to take advantage of our European connections from countries like Russia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and other parts of Europe to bring them to Phuket. Foreign visitors are expected to top 4.5 million in 2010 and with only a handful of airlines offering flights from Europe, the opportunity is there for us to acquire market share,” said Al Baker.
On board the airline’s first flight to Phuket was Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Commercial East Asia & Southwest Pacific Marwan Koleilat, who said that the airline will also target outbound business traffic from across the southern Thai province.
“As the second wealthiest region in Thailand, Phuket Province is an ideal city for Qatar Airways to serve. It has a population of over 1.5 million, which swells during the tourist season, and the airline is ready to welcome onboard local executives and, in particular international hotel brands who will benefit from the convenience and connectivity that this flight creates,” said Koleilat.
He thanked the local authorities for their efforts and assistance in supporting Qatar Airways in establishing the new route. Koleilat also commented that Qatar Airways will exercise fifth freedom traffic rights which allow the airline to sell tickets between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur.
The launch of Phuket flights sees Qatar Airways’ Asia Pacific route network extend to 17 destinations. Globally, Qatar Airways has launched seven new routes since February 2010 – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Six further routes are scheduled to launch over the next six months, including Hanoi (November 1), Nice (November 24), Budapest (January 11), Bucharest (January 11), 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 89 aircraft, flying to 93 destinations across Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
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