Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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QA looking to expand its network in China: Baker

QA looking to expand its network in China: Baker

Satyendra Pathak
Doha
Qatar Airways (QA) is looking to grow its business further in China by expanding the network in the country.
Talking to Qatar Tribune on the sidelines of a Shop Qatar event to mark the Chinese New Year celebrations at Hamad International Airport on Wednesday, QA Group Chief Executive and QNTC Secretary-General Akbar al Baker said, “We decided to combine the opening of our new exclusive Lancome Pop-Up at HIA with Shop Qatar’s Chinese New Year celebrations to demonstrate our commitment to welcoming even more passengers from China to Qatar this year.”
“There is a substantial growth in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Qatar. We expect this trend to continue. Expanding Qatar Airways’ network in the Chinese market is aimed at supporting the growth of tourism in Qatar. It will also help establish Qatar as one of the major tourism hubs in the region,” he said.
He said the expansion plans related to increasing the number of flights to China will be announced at a later stage.
Baker said that QA is doing a lot better than budgeted for the current fiscal year.

Asked about Boeing’s decision to temporarily stop building its bestselling plane 737 MAX, Baker said, “We are not a MAX operator. So we don’t have any issues with MAX except the investment that we made with MAX aircraft for our business in Italy.”
He, however, said that there was a small issue with the delay in delivery of Boeing 777 by a year.
“We will start getting delivery of Boeing 777 from next year. As these new aircraft are meant for replacing the existing ones, the delay will hardly affect us. We will manage it by delaying the retirement of our Boeing 777 by a year. We have no problem in keeping them for a year longer,” he said.
He said that Qatar Airways operates one of the youngest fleets in the sky and it will continue to do so by replacing the existing ones with the new fleet of aircraft.
More than 200 new aircraft are on order to ensure that Qatar Airways continues to operate a fuel-efficient fleet.
“Investment in new aircraft underpins our commitment to the environment and ensure first-class travel experience for our customers. Qatar Airways aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth in the next 15 years,” he said.