QATAR AIRWAYS PUSHES LONDON AS FIRST B787 DESTINATION
December 13th will see Qatar Airways’ first B787 Dreamliner commence flights to London, an occasion the airlines has been using in Uganda to push for added sales in a hardly contested market place.
‘We are the best in the sky and when the new B787 comes on line to London, our passengers to the UK will have the most modern plane to fly with’ said a source from the airline’s Kampala office while also reminding of the range of new destinations QR now offers via Doha, already on line like Perth or coming on line between now and the Spring of next year, such as Warsaw / Poland, Phnom Penh / Cambodia or Chicago in the United States.
Local travel agents at least in part agree with QR’s contention to be the best in the sky but continue to compare, either through personal experience or through passenger feedback, the merits of having wide bodied aircraft from Entebbe vis a vis a narrow bodied single aisle aircraft as used by Qatar Airways.
‘There are many of our clients who prefer to fly a wide body like on Emirates for instance. Some are outright reluctant to fly via Addis when they hear they have to use a turboprop aircraft between Entebbe and Addis. Price of course is always an issue but Qatar are offering regular promotions of which travelers can take advantage. But others are not sitting still. Brussels Airlines has launched a new cabin product but they only fly 3 times a week and Emirates comes every day with an A330 and connect passengers to London with an A380 even. Now that is what sells besides the price, to fly on the largest aircraft in the world. QR is trying to sell them the experience of the most modern aircraft in the world when flying to London. There is a good market for travel in Uganda and in the end it is customer loyalty gained by treating them well. When bags go missing, flights are delayed by bad weather into Europe in winter, how the transit in the connecting airport is organized and all. The one good thing is that QR has promised free internet on board of the B787 and I gather is also launching it for their A320 they fly to Entebbe and that will be a bonus for my clients. They can stay in touch while flying and so many now use smart phones or IPads or tablets. Imagine they post pictures on Facebook or use Twitter from onboard, that is also a good extra promotion for the airline’ said a leading Kampala travel agent when discussing the hype over the new aircraft, putting things in perspective of course that marketing bravado needs backing up by service and consistently good performance across the board.
Qatar Airways was the Gulf launch customer for Boeing’s Dreamliner and has a total of 60 of these aircraft on order, to be progressively deployed on key long haul routes alongside the airline’s B777’s and A380’s when the latter will join their fleet from next year onward. Happy landings to the new bird and watch this space.