Qatar Airways is nearing the 70 aircraft mark
following the addition of the latest Boeing 777-300 Extended Range,
which has arrived in Doha.
The new commercial passenger jet is the third
Boeing 777 delivery in four weeks and brings the total number in
the national carrier’s fleet to 68 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
In the course of the last two years, a massive
expansion programme implemented at the airline has seen Qatar
Airways increase its route network and aircraft numbers by around
25%, with passenger numbers growing an average of 35% year on year
for the past decade.
The expansion has also meant further extensions
of Doha International Airport to cope with the increasing volumes
of traffic generated by Qatar Airways rapid growth. The airline is
due to move to its new home, New Doha International Airport, in
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al
Baker commended Boeing for resuming its delivery schedule
following delays last year which forced the airline to hold back
on launching its Houston route, the airline’s third connection to
the United States.
“We are very happy that Boeing has committed to
delivering on average one aircraft a month for at least the next
year. Qatar Airways places huge importance on providing its
customers with the latest and best services including the newest
aircraft. Qatar Airways’ average aircraft age is less than four
years old and as more aircraft join the fleet the average age will
be even younger.
“With new acquisitions to the fleet, the airline
is looking forward to being able to launch a host of new routes
and also boost capacity on our underserved routes,” he said.
Al Baker also highlighted that the expansion of the airline is
being driven by demand, and that its growth has been organic.
“Our expansion, though occurring rapidly, is very calculated
and measured. We will not enter into situations that do not make
economic sense. We are very conscious of the current global
economy, and are using our strong financial position to explore
opportunities where other airlines may not have the financial
strength to compete,” he said.
In February, Qatar Airways
took delivery of the first two Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft,
of which it has six on order. The aircraft is capable of flying on
ultra long-haul routes of up to 17 hours non-stop – effectively to
any key business or leisure destination in the world from Doha.
The long range Boeing 777s will be paired to operate Qatar
Airways’ newest route to the United States. The Doha – Houston
route, linking the energy capitals of the world is scheduled for
launch on March 30.
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