Qatar Airways has announced a host of network capacity increases, including boosting flights on its Kuala Lumpur route to twice daily, to be phased in from March 1.
The Doha-based carrier will implement several network improvements across its global route map for the start of its winter programme.
An extra three weekly services from Kuala Lumpur will be added from March 27, connecting the Malaysian capital to Doha twice a day.
This year, Qatar Airways marks its 10th year of operations in Malaysia. As one of the airline’s most popular and oldest routes in South East Asia, the airline’s Kuala Lumpur route has continually grown since the airline launched services in 2001.
The increased services will connect business leaders from the Middle East keen to expand trade in Malaysia and will also provide leisure and business travellers in Malaysia with seamless connections to exotic locations in Europe and South America that were harder to access like Nice and Sao Paulo.
In Europe, where Qatar Airways is concentrating much of its expansion over the next two months with new routes to Bucharest and Budapest this week, Brussels by the end of January and Stuttgart in March, the airline has also earmarked a number of capacity increases to and from existing destinations in its network.
The double daily Paris route will rise to 16 weekly services with an extra two flights a week, while Geneva capacity will increase to daily following the introduction of two new weekly flights.
News of the European additions follows the recent announcement that Qatar Airways’ Copenhagen route will go daily with one extra flight a week.
In addition to increased services to a host of destinations in Qatar Airways’ global network, daily services from Doha to Barcelona and to Bengaluru (Bangalore) in southern India will be upgraded from a narrow-body Airbus A320 aircraft to a wide-body A330.
Growing international passenger demand from Asia and the Middle East and additional aircraft joining the fleet have prompted the capacity hike, part of the Doha-based airline’s aggressive expansion strategy to offer consumers more choice.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “These capacity increases yet again demonstrate Qatar Airways’ commitment to building our route profiles in line with our strategy to offer passengers more travel options.
“With an average of more than one new aircraft being introduced into the fleet every month, Qatar Airways is looking to deploy the new capacity on existing routes while, at the same time launch new routes to join our ever-growing international network.”
Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 24 Airbus A320 family aircraft, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport is scheduled to open.
At the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Qatar Airways was awarded World’s Best Business Class, Best Airline in the Middle East for the fifth consecutive year, World’s Best Business Class Catering, and the Staff Service Excellence Award for the Middle East. The awards are compiled from results of the annual Skytrax passenger survey in which almost 18 million travellers were polled over a 10-month period.
By Song Ngoc