Qatar Airways eyeing fresh routes



Qatar Airways currently serves 83 destinations, including New York and Washington, and next year will fly to Houston, Texas.

Qatar Airways has a current fleet of more than 60 planes and has about 200 new planes on order.

“We are aiming very high,” said al-Rais in New York. “We’d probably settle for 120 to 150 destinations worldwide eventually.”

He said Qatar Airways was pressing ahead with its expansion despite the global economic slowdown.

“There is a bit of uncertainty – still, Asia is doing very well,” he said.
“Qatar is one of the few countries that is running its economy on cash available,” al-Rais added.

Emirates, another major player in the Gulf region, flies to more than 100 destinations, spread over the six continents.

Airlines across the world have been hard hit this year by high oil prices, with some of the biggest carriers posting steep falls in profits or losses.

US airlines announced big cutbacks earlier this year as they grappled with the unprecedented oil prices, but since then crude has plummeted from a record high above $ 147 in July to under $ 43 on Tuesday.

Al-Rais said he had seen no signs of slower bookings for Qatar Airways.
“I have been watching our numbers very carefully and I have not seen the numbers actually changing – they have been consistent,” he said.

“At least until February, I don’t see any change in the numbers,” al-Rais added.

Qatar Airways has recently introduced online check-in, allowing passengers another hassle-free service.

“Those travelling with Qatar Airways can check-in online, select their seats and print their boarding passes or send boarding passes to their mobile phones well in advance to make the check-in procedure easier and hassle-free,” a spokesman said.

Upon arrival at the airport, Qatar Airways’ passengers who have checked-in via the Internet can either proceed directly to the departure gate or, for those with baggage, go to the ‘Fast Drop Baggage’ counters in the check-in hall.

Qatar Airways passengers can use the Internet check-in facility as much as 36 hours before departure.

Qatar Airways flies one of the youngest and most modern fleet of aircraft. The national carrier has placed orders for more than 200 aircraft worth over $ 30bn.

The airline will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size.

During 2007, Qatar Airways ordered 80 Airbus A350s, together with 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s. It has ordered five of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ for delivery from 2010.

“We are committed to providing our passengers with the highest levels of service and innovation onboard our flights,” an airline spokesman said.

“Our long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft feature interactive inflight audio and video options for every passenger in all cabins,” the spokesman added.

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