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Qatar Airways celebrating 10 years in SA

Jun 02 2015 18:30
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Airlines open doors for countries to do business as everything in the world revolves about where to go and how to go there, according to Marwan Koleilat, chief commercial officer of Qatar Airways.

He was in Cape Town on Tuesday to celebrate ten years of Qatar Airways operating in South Africa.

"At Qatar Airways we work constantly to promote South Africa, including on social media," he said.

"Cape Town is a good destination for leisure and Johannesburg for business travel."

Earlier this year Qatar Airlines announced that as from October 1 the airline will increase its flights to Cape Town from five per week to daily - ahead of the peak tourist season.

According to Koleilat the intention is to keep this up throughout the year and not just seasonally.

READ: Qatar Airways leading the way - CEO

As from December 17 the airline will also increase its its weekly flights to Johannesburg from ten per week to twice a day. Four of these weekly flights will be to and from Durban for the first time via Johannesburg.

"By offering these three routes - Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban - we believe we will cover the whole of the South African region," said Koleilat.

Qatar Airways, which currently fly to 146 destinations, will also launch a daily direct flight from its hub in Doha to Amsterdam on June 16 - in time for the European summer holiday period.

Other expansions for 2015 include five weekly flights to Zanzibar in Tanzania from July 1 and flights to three destinations in Pakistan.

The Hamad International Airport in Doha opened in April 2014 at a cost of $15.5bn and with an initial capacity to handle up to 50 million passengers a year.

Once fully developed beyond 2015, the airport, of which 60% is built on reclaimed land, is expected to handle up to 50 million passengers a year.

READ: Qatar Airways takes 9.99% stake in IAG

Expanding fleet

"With the delivery of the Airbus A350 XWB in December 2014, Qatar Airways became the first airline in the world to operate every family of Airbus' modern airliner portfolio, comprising of the A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380," said Koleilat.

"We currently have more than 320 new aircraft worth $70bn pending delivery over the next few years. This includes an order of Airbus' new generation A350s, A320 Neos, A380s, A330 Freighters, Boeing 777s, Boeing 777Xs and Boeing 787s."

After starting with carrying 3.3 million passengers during the 2003/2004 financial year, Qatar Airways exceeded the 22 million passenger mark in 2013/2014.

ALSO READ: Record Airbus backlog good for SA suppliers

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