Qatar flies into Melbourne sees more potential than Sydney

first_imgQatar Airways B777 Economy Class 3-3-3 <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO with Tim Holding, Victorian Minister of Tourism Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR Our planes will always be youngQatar Airways currently flies with a fleet of 75 aircraft and with a new plane, or more, delivered every month, it will look to achieving a fleet of 120 aircraft by the 2013.“We have more than 220 aircraft worth US$40 billion on order,” Mr Al Baker states.“Qatar Airways will never keep an aircraft more than five years old in our fleet, we will always replace those aircraft with more fuel efficient, state-of-the-art airplanes.”For the new Melbourne service, the Boeing 777-200LR placed on the route is roughly four weeks old.  And when the airline moves to increase services to dailies, it will be with a new B777.Sydney’s expansion will come with a new Boeing 777-200LR as well. Qatar Airways has launched its inaugural services between Doha and Melbourne, and while it has pencilled in services to Sydney in 2010, it won’t rush until it’s firmly established in Victoria.In Australia this week to promote the services, Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, says that Melbourne was its city of choice to launch its Australian operations, and will look forward to increasing the triple weekly services into dailies by the new year. “Melbourne was where I wanted to go first when [Qatar] launched to Australia, although your competing city tried to convince me with a lot of goodies and incentives to go there first,” said Mr Al Baker.“Many airlines are coming here, and I know many will come, because I know within the next two decades [Melbourne] will be larger than your competing city [Sydney].”Affirming its commitment to the city, Qatar Airways has already shifted its regional offices from Tokyo to Melbourne, and has recently completed a new recruitment drive for more staff.Mr Al Baker confirmed that Sydney was still on the agenda, “Yes we will go there… [But] we will only decide to go there once we have firmly established our presence in this market.”In the next four months Qatar Airways is expected to confirm four to five new destinations.  Already this year it has launched services to Houston, Amritsar and Goa.“I know Qantas will be displeased… because as usual people are afraid of competition.”Focus on quality but it’ll cost youUnlike other carriers, Mr Al Baker is upfront about charging travellers more for its products, but substantiates this by saying that the Qatar Airways product is newer and of a higher quality than its competitors.“Have your chequebooks ready and start queuing at your travel agent,” he remarks half-jokingly of the carrier’s new services.“We are very clever in how we operate and how we deploy our capacity, and people who are excited about Qatar Airways I’d like to warn you – don’t expect to travel cheap on my airplane.  Our prices out of Melbourne are substantially higher than our competition.”Qatar Airways justifies its prices with the quality of its product, even in Economy Class.  Featuring uniquely designed seats which offer 34″ pitch and 37″ of legroom, the Boeing 777-200LRs are configured in a 3-3-3 pattern seating 217 in Economy.Business Class is also exceptional, and Mr al Baker is quick to point out that their seats are “two inches wider and four inches longer than our major competitor… so if you’re six foot tall you won’t need to curl your feet”.Both classes feature state of the art individual entertainment units including 17″ touch screen televisions, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Business Class, your seat also comes with a mouse “so you won’t have to keep bending over”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img

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