Airline Fact Files – Qatar Airways

At a time when many airlines are going to the wall, or are trying to reduce services, Qatar Airways is still expanding.

Based in Doha, the capital of the Middle eastern country of Qatar, the airline currently has 109 aircraft, with plans to expand this to 170 aircraft with an additional of 250 aircraft on order worth an estimated $50 billion.

The fleet is comprised of both Boeing and Airbus aircraft, and Bombardiers which form the airline’s corporate jet subsidiary Qatar Executive. Of those planes on order 60 are Boeing 787s and 13 are Airbus A380-800s.

At the time of writing Qatar Airways flies to 117 destinations and, according to the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker, they hope to continue to expand at the rate of 15 destinations per year. Already, th airline services every continent with the exception of Antarctica and they service over 30 dedicated freighter routes.

Qatar Airways has the world’s first dedicated terminal for First and Business Class passengers at Doha and has recently built the world’s best airport lounge at Heathrow in London.

Remarkably, the airline only began operations in 1994, when it was a small regional carrier servicing a handful of routes and has increased its number of aircraft from 72 to 109 in just two years. During that time, Qatar Airways also increased quality of service and was named as Airline of the Year for 2011 in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Part of the reason for the airline’s success is because it bucks the trend to squeeze more passengers onto aircraft. In Qatar’s case, they have actually reduced the number of seats in economy, and increased the pitch of the seats so as passengers have more room, and superior entertainment facilities.

The airline continues to improve passenger comfort, and on their new Dreamliner Boeing 787s passengers will have the first aircraft touch screen controllers which will not only offer a huge range of entertainment, but will also allow passengers to download their own music and videos so as to truly personalise in-flight entertainment.

Another innovation is the airline’s Frequent Flyer Shop. Realising that those who fly often accrue so many points they are unable to purchase flights with them, Qatar Airways has opened a shop those with frequent flyer points can trade them for products, anything from pens to cars, as well as redeem points for air miles.

Qatar Airways is an aggressive airline that is matching its growth with better services for clients. In an era when other airlines are beginning to treat passengers like cattle, Qatar is treating them as valued clients which probably explains the airline’s ability to rapidly expand.

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