A YEAR OF ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY – QATAR AIRWAYS
(Posted 01st January 2019)
Qatar Airways can today look back at a successful year of robust network expansion, new aircraft deliveries and groundbreaking global sports sponsorship agreements, looking ahead into 2019 with renewed confidence.
As the first airline in the world to take delivery of the new Airbus model, the A350-1000 in February 2018, Qatar Airways proved once again that it leads where other airlines follow in providing passengers with the most technologically advanced aircraft available. As well as receiving the first global delivery of the Airbus A350-1000, the airline received 25 additional aircraft to the fleet throughout the year, increasing the total number in its fleet to 226.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Our achievements in 2018 prove that Qatar Airways has not wavered from its strategy and vision of constant growth and development, in order to provide our passengers the finest onboard experience every time they travel. We have demonstrated that we will not rest in our determination to push the boundaries in redefining the travel experience for each and every one of our customers. As we conclude 2018, we remain committed to setting the highest standards of excellence and quality in the industry, and look forward to welcoming an exciting 2019.”
A350-1000: In February, the airline took delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-1000 as the global launch customer of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft. The new A350-1000 went into full commercial service on the airline’s Doha-London route, on which the A350-900, the A380, Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner already operate, offering six flights a day between Qatar and the United Kingdom’s capital to Heathrow Airport and 16 weekly flights to London Gatwick. It is the first Airbus aircraft to be fitted with Qatar Airways’ new Qsuite Business Class seats. In October, the aircraft was added to the airline’s New York route.
In the same month, the airline announced that it had upgraded five of its current order of A350-900s to the higher-capacity A350-1000. The airline has already taken delivery of 35 A350 aircraft (29 A350-900 and six A350-1000) from the total order of 76 A350 XWBs.
Route Expansion: One of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, Qatar Airways launched a host of exciting new destinations in 2018, including: Cardiff United Kingdom; Canberra Australia; Mombasa Kenya; Gothenburg Sweden; Da Nang Vietnam and Thessaloniki Greece. The airline also launched seasonal services to Mykonos Greece; Bodrum and Antalya in Turkey and Málaga Spain
The airline added new frequencies to several popular destinations including Montreal, the Maldives, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Amman, Muscat, Helsinki, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Vienna, Oslo, Copenhagen, Manchester and Zurich. These additions provided even more flexibility for both business and leisure passengers.
Qsuite added to routes: In 2018 Qatar Airways added its award-winning Business Class seat, the Qsuite, to routes including Shanghai, São Paulo, Chicago, Houston, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Canberra and Sydney. Passengers in these cities now have the opportunity to experience the airline’s best Business Class product, named ‘World’s Best Business Class Seat’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.
Cargo: 2018 was a highly successful year for the airline’s Cargo division, with cargo volumes having increased by 10.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017. The highlight has been the launch of transpacific services, direct from Macau to Los Angeles and Mexico City. The new freighter service demonstrates the carrier’s commitment to customers in helping their business grow, offering them reduced flight times and quicker service without a stopover in Doha.
The cargo carrier bagged two prestigious awards in 2018 – International Cargo Airline of the Year at Air Cargo India Event and Best Air Cargo Carrier – Middle East at the Asian Freight Logistics & Supply Chain Awards. These awards recognise the carrier’s continued drive and emphasis in delivering the highest levels of service in the air cargo industry. Two brand new Boeing 777 freighters joined its cargo fleet, bringing up the total freighter fleet to 25.
Sponsorships: The airline signed a record-number of sporting sponsorships with top-tier teams in 2018, further cementing Qatar’s role as a global centre for sport.
Bayern Munich: In March, the airline signed a five-year partnership agreement with leading German football team FC Bayern München AG, further strengthening Qatar’s role as a global leader in sports. Under the agreement, the award-winning airline became an FC Bayern München platinum partner until June 2023.
AS Roma: In April, Qatar Airways signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Italian football club AS Roma, further strengthening the award-winning airline’s commitment to Italy. The agreement, the largest ever signed by the club, sees Qatar Airways become AS Roma’s Main Global Partner, with the airline’s logo to adorn the team’s shirts through the 2020-21 season.
Boca Juniors: In May, Qatar Airways became the Official Jersey Sponsor of the world-renowned Argentinian football club the Boca Juniors through the 2022/23 season. The new partnership further strengthens Qatar Airways’ global partnership portfolio and will see the airline’s logo proudly appear on the club’s jerseys, allowing the Qatar Airways brand to be seen by millions of football fans around the world.
Barclays: In October, Qatar Airways became the Official Global Airline Partner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the team’s home, Barclays Center, the Brooklyn, New York venue that hosts many of the world’s most exciting entertainment and sporting events. This marks the first major partnership between the airline and an NBA team or venue.
CONMEBOL: In October, Qatar Airways became Official Global Airline Partner of The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), adding another strong sporting partnership to its expanding portfolio. As part of the agreement, Qatar Airways will be the sponsor of CONMEBOL’s professional football club competitions across South America for the next 4.5 years, with immediate effect through 2022, including the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious football competition, as well as the Copa CONMEBOL Sudamericana and the CONMEBOL Recopa.
FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia: As the Official Partner and Official Airline of FIFA, Qatar Airways brought football fans from around the world to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM, one of the most highly-anticipated events on the global sports calendar.
Oryx Kids Club: In March 2018, Qatar Airways launched the Oryx Kids Club, designed to encourage children to explore the world by making their in-flight experience even more fun and inspiring. As part of the club, the airline introduced five new hero characters: Orry the Oryx and his twin sister, Orrah; Kamil the Camel; Faaiz the Falcon, and Farah the Desert Fox. Oryx Kids Club offers an enhanced experience for its youngest travellers by providing them with specially designed plush toys, activity packs, and special meal boxes featuring their favourite super heroes from the Oryx Kids Club.
Awards: Qatar’s national carrier received a host of awards in 2018, including being named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat,’ ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.’
Qatar Airways’ revolutionary Qsuite was named ‘Best Business Class’ in the AirlineRatings’ Airline Excellence Awards 2019. The airline’s renowned dine-on-demand in flight cuisine was also named ‘Best Catering’.
The airline clinched the ‘Best Inflight Service’ Award at the 29th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2018. The airline was also named the ‘Best Middle Eastern/African Airline’ for the ninth consecutive year at the recent 2018 Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards.
In October, Qatar Airways won 10 new international service awards, including titles by four separate global industry leaders: Business Traveller, Kayak, Condé Nast Traveler and CJ Affiliate. The first three awards for ‘Best Long-Haul Airline’, ‘Best Business Class’ and ‘Best Middle East Airline’, were presented to the airline at the global Business Traveller Awards 2018, held in London on 15 October.
This was followed by a further five awards for the Middle East and Africa region from global travel site, Kayak, including ‘Best Airline’, ‘Best Boarding’, ‘Best Comfort’, ‘Best Crew’ and ‘Best Food’.
The airline also received a High Commendation for the ‘Global Excellence Award’ at the 2018 CJ You Awards, in California, U.S., followed by third place in the ‘Top Airlines – International’ category in the Condé Nast Travelers 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards.
ATCNews named Qatar Airways as the best airline out of Entebbe / Uganda into the Gulf and beyond for 2018.