Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Qatar Airways joins tight airline market competition

National carrier, Qatar Airways, has announced a further expansion of its international route network with Uganda, Azerbaijan and Georgia, joining its growing list of countries served direct from the airline’s Doha hub.
This development could tighten competition in the respective markets.
The daily non-stop scheduled flights to Uganda are due to begin on November 2, marking the carrier’s first new route to the African continent since early 2007.
This will be followed by the airline’s expansion into Central Asia where it is expected to introduce daily non-stop flights to Baku then continue onto Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia respectively.
The announcement comes as the Doha-based carrier prepares for a busy few months ahead with the launch of scheduled flights to Shiraz, Venice and Montreal in June; Kolkata (Calcutta) in July; Sofia in September and Oslo in October.
Qatar’s entrance into the country brings the total number airlines to21.
Unveiling the expansion plans in Dubai on may 2, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the new routes demonstrate the airline’s ambitious strategy to continue opening up new routes to popular and underserved markets.
Uganda is fast emerging as a regional trading centre with links to Europe and the Far East, but has limited international air services.
Qatar Airways is set to fill this gap with its huge international network of routes via its Doha base.
The three newest routes will be operated with Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy.
“There is clear demand and huge potential and, as a network global carrier, we shall be able to fulfill the needs of the travelling public from these three countries and for those wanting to travel there from markets we serve around the world,” Mr Al Baker said.
“Qatar Airways already has a successful operation to the Russian capital Moscow. Expanding our presence deeper into Central Asia has been a focus of ours for some time so it is with extreme delight to be able to announce we will soon have new routes to add in this part of the world.”
He said the Airline is proud to reinforce its presence in Africa, four years after its last move thereas it launched flights to Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam.