Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker on Wednesday announced the airline’s “aggressive expansion plans” and 16 new destinations for 2018-2019 at a press conference held on the opening day of ITB Berlin.
Stressing that it “once again stole the limelight” on the opening day of the world’s largest international travel fair, the Doha-based carrier said it also unveiled a brand-new interactive exhibition stand on the same day. Hosted by al-Baker, the unveiling was attended by Qatar’s ambassador to Germany Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and a host of international media and VIPs.
At the press conference, attended by almost 200 members of the international media, al-Baker announced a raft of forthcoming global destinations for the airline in line with its expedited expansion plans, including the announcement that Qatar Airways will be the first Gulf carrier to begin direct service to Luxembourg.
Other new destinations to be launched by the airline are London Gatwick, UK; Cardiff, UK; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Cebu and Davao, Philippines; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Turkey; Mykonos and Thessaloniki, Greece; and Málaga, Spain.
In addition, services to Warsaw, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague and Kyiv will increase to a double daily frequency, while services to Madrid, Barcelona and the Maldives will increase to triple daily.
The brand-new interactive exhibition stand of Qatar Airways.
Al-Baker said, “Qatar Airways is tremendously excited to announce further expansion with a significant number of new destinations to be added to our extensive global network throughout 2018 and 2019. This is a direct reflection of our commitment to connecting travellers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient to them. We are committed to continuing our ambitious growth strategy, in order to be able to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible and to take them anywhere in the world they wish to go.”
The brand-new exhibition stand unveiled at the ceremony has been designed with a concept of “augmented reality”, the airline has said in a press statement. The new stand features a full 360-digital screen wrapping around the entire stand showcasing the signature Qatar Airways five-star journey, while in-flight entertainment experiences allow guests to place themselves virtually into one of the airline’s Business Class seats, complemented by a full-size display of the airline’s patented, award-winning ‘First in Business Class’ concept, Qsuite.
Further developments for the upcoming year were discussed, including additions to the airline’s sporting sponsorship portfolio.
Qatar Airways is already the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and FIFA Club World Cup, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message – Going Places Together, the statement adds.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport. Just last month, the airline welcomed the Airbus A350-1000, for which it is the global launch customer.
Qatar Airways is welcoming all guests at ITB this week to visit its new exhibition pavilion at the trade fair. This year reveals a completely redesigned exhibition stand in Hall 2.2, stand 207 and 208 until March 11. Guests and visitors to ITB Berlin are invited to relax in the ‘First in Business’ Qsuite, of which there is a full display at the exhibition.
Qatar Airways ‘continued its march ahead during blockade’
Speaking on the ongoing blockade against Qatar, Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker on Wednesday said: “During the blockade Qatar Airways continued its expansion; it continued its march ahead. We kept our country supplied and we became prouder as a nation. The blockade made my ruler an icon of defiance. Today, we are more independent than we were nine months ago. We are very defiant, and Qatar Airways will keep on expanding and keep on raising the flag for my country all over the globe.”