The robust expansion plans of Qatar Airways, as well as its commitment to bringing more travellers to Australia were highlighted by Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker in Canberra on Tuesday.
He was addressing a press conference in the capital city of Australia to celebrate the launch of the award-winning airline’s inaugural flight.
Al-Baker stressed Qatar Airways’ commitment to connecting Canberrans to its extensive global network via the award-winning Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha.
“We are tremendously excited to launch our new daily service to Canberra, our fifth destination in Australia. Having inaugurated flights to Adelaide and Sydney in 2016, we quickly realised the need for further expansion of our footprint in Australia, and what better place than the capital, Canberra?
“This new daily service will without doubt offer our Australian passengers more convenience and an extensive choice of destinations on our global network, as they transit through our award-winning hub, Hamad International Airport.”
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who welcomed the arrival of the second international airline to service the capital, said: “It is wonderful to have Qatar Airways make the decision to come to Canberra in 2018 – a year in which our city was recognised as the third best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet.”
Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron, added: “We appreciate Qatar Airways’ strong support for the nation’s capital. An airline of this stature will further boost Canberra’s reputation as a leading tourist destination, on the back of record numbers of international visitors coming in 2017, and Lonely Planet nominating the city as a top three destination for 2018.”
The launch of a daily service to Canberra increases the airline’s number of flights a week into the country to 42. Qatar Airways already operates a daily service to Adelaide, Melbourne Perth and Sydney. The Canberra service will also stop in Sydney, where passengers can disembark, creating a second daily flight into the popular destination.
The recent ease in visa entry requirements for Australian nationals into Qatar has opened up this route to even more passengers wishing to experience Qatar, the hub of the award-winning airline, before continuing their onward journeys to one of the airline’s more than 150 business and leisure destinations across the world.
Canberra, Australia’s largest inland city, is home to Australia’s Parliament House, and offers a host of museums, galleries and monuments for visitors to explore. Canberra is especially renowned for its annual hot air balloon festival, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, one of the most celebrated hot air balloon events in the world, extending over nine days.
With the airline launching a new daily service to Canberra, the total cargo capacity out of the Australian continent has increased to more than 630 tonnes per week. Qatar Airways Cargo offers exporters in Australia its innovative QR Fresh solution for the air freight of Australian meat and other perishable products throughout the world via its state-of-the-art hub in Doha. Its Quick Ramp Transfer (QRT) offers the fastest shipment transfer at Hamad International Airport and the use of reefer vehicles at its hub ensures seamless temperature control for perishable products.
Qatar Airways will operate its daily Canberra service with a Boeing B777 aircraft, which features 42 flatbed seats in Business Class and 316 seats in Economy Class. Passengers will be able to enjoy the airline’s superior entertainment system offering passengers a wide variety of entertainment options.