(eTN) – Qatar Airways has launched scheduled flights to Hanoi and added frequencies to its Ho Chi Minh City route, nearly tripling the airline’s number of services in and out of Vietnam.
Qatar Airways now operates 11 flights a week from Doha to Vietnam’s two largest cities, up from its previous four frequencies a week to Ho Chi Minh City.
The airline’s Vietnamese expansion marks a new chapter in Qatar Airways’ growth in the Far East for 2010, which also includes the addition of new routes to Tokyo and Phuket, as well as significant frequency and capacity upgrades across the region.
A ceremony was held following the arrival of the inaugural flight into the capital Hanoi and presided over by senior airport officials and local dignitaries. The welcome included a traditional water salute for the aircraft as it taxied into the arrival gate. On board was an airline delegation and international media led by Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker, who later thanked the authorities for their support in facilitating the latest route developments in Vietnam.
Al Baker highlighted that Qatar Airways was making use of fifth freedom traffic rights and is selling seats between Vietnam and Thailand on both its Hanoi–Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City–Bangkok routes. Qatar Airways is the only 5-star ranked carrier operating these routes. One of the results of this growing friendship, Al Baker commented, addressing a packed press conference in the Vietnamese capital.
“Vietnam has long been an attractive leisure destination, and with the country’s economic strength continuing to build, we are also seeing more business travel in and out of the country. Qatar Airways has introduced its new Hanoi route and placed additional frequencies to Ho Chi Minh City to push our advantage over our competitors and to grow our market share as the country grows,” Baker said.
Prior to coming to Vietam, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker was honored at the Leaders in Aviation Awards at the 2nd DOHA Aviation Summit for his long-term contribution to the economic growth of Qatar (October 30) .
By 2013, this expansion drive by Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 90 aircraft, flying to 94 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and North and South America. Al Baker outlined Qatar Airways’ global expansion plans, highlighting the airline’s focus on targeting underserved routes and maximizing connectivity to key cities beyond Doha. The airline’s growth in Europe features strongly with Qatar Airways to introduce five new European destinations over the next five months, including Nice (November 24), Budapest (January 17), Bucharest (January 17), Brussels (January 31), and Stuttgart (March 9).