Qatar Airways’ 2012 expansion programme is underway after the carrier launched scheduled daily flights to Tbilisi, Georgia via Baku, Azerbaijan.
Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, led a high-profile delegation on the Baku and Tbilisi inaugural flight QR976.
Guests included Eldar Salimov, ambassador of Azerbaijan to Qatar; Ekaterine Meiering-Mikadze, ambassador of Georgia to Qatar; and Abdul Razzaq Al Abdul Ghani, ambassador of Qatar to Turkey and Georgia.
The delegation was welcomed to Baku by Sheikh Mubarak Fahad Al Thani, ambassador of Qatar to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Addressing guests at the ceremony, Al Baker said Azerbaijan’s developing tourism industry and energy resources were key factors in Qatar Airways’ decision to start operations there.
“We assessed Azerbaijan as a destination with great potential that would create a new air corridor providing wider choices for both leisure and business travellers,” he said.
“Azerbaijan’s rich energy resources offer great business opportunities, and a landscape that provides a good base for family and independent tourism.
“As well as enabling visitors from around the world to visit Baku, we also look forward to providing Azerbaijanis with the opportunity to fly to global destinations on Qatar Airways via our Doha hub.
Flight QR976 continued to its final destination, Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi, where it was welcomed by an arrival ceremony at Tbilisi International Airport.
Addressing guests on arrival in Tbilisi, Al Baker said Georgia was a highly underserved part of Europe, which prompted the airline to consider opening up the route.
“Tbilisi becomes Qatar Airways’ 112th destination worldwide and it gives me great pleasure to celebrate our arrival here.
“We sincerely look forward to growing this route with additional capacity in the future and we look forward to welcoming more destinations into our ever increasing European network,” said Al Baker.
After inaugurating seven new routes across Europe last year, the addition of two cities in South Eastern Europe further diversifies Qatar Airways’ portfolio on the Continent.
Destinations currently served across Europe include Ankara, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Venice, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Madrid.
From Doha, the airline offers excellent onward connections to cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, including Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait, Entebbe, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Goa and Melbourne.
Qatar Airways is operating an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration on the Baku and Tbilisi routes, which features 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 seats in Economy.
Regardless of class of travel, the aircraft offers all passengers seatback TVs to enjoy the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system with a choice of more than 900 audio and video on demand options.
Qatar Airways is considered as offering the World’s Leading Airline Business Class by the World Travel Awards.