Qatar Airways Upgrades Manila Service

Flies Boeing 777ER to Manila this Summer

March 10, 2009

Doha - National carrier Qatar Airways is set to launch and upgrade its service this April and fly its new Boeing 777-300ER to Manila. With a seating capacity of 335- 42 in business and 293 in economy, the aircraft is the 10th triple seven plane which is scheduled for delivery on the last week of March from Boeing factory in Seattle.

The new commercial passenger jet is the fifth Boeing 777 delivery in six weeks and brings the total number in the national carrier’s fleet to 70 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

“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,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said.

“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.

Al Baker also highlighted that the expansion of the airline is being driven by demand, and that its growth has been organic. Its intends to fly twice daily its Manila service within the next two years after the approval of the recent bilateral aviation agreement. It will also increase Cebu flight frequency to daily as soon as additional aircraft arrive. Qatar Airways currently flies to two destinations in the Philippines – Manila and the southern city of Cebu.

The aircraft has 42 seats in business class in a 2–2–2 configuration, and offers a generous pitch of 78 inches and individual TV screens measuring 15.4 inches. Economy class has 293 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a 32-inch pitch and 10.6-inch TV screens, designed to offer “optimum” viewing. Both business and economy class cabins offer in-seat PC power supply. The aircraft also features a revamped in-flight entertainment system, Oryx Entertainment, offering each passenger more than 700 entertainment options.

Last January, the Philippines and Qatar agreed to add three more bilateral flights to Manila bringing the total to eight trips weekly.

"With more flights to Doha, we will serve more OFWs and attract more foreign tourists. It will also boost trade, investment and cultural exchange," Porvenir Porciuncula, deputy executive director and head of economic planning of the Civil Aeronautics Board said.

The government is banking on the liberalization of the air transport industry, as it seeks to achieve the 5- million foreign tourist arrival target by 2010. The liberalization of the Philippine air policy is part of the framework to promote tourism under the Arroyo administration’s Medium-Term Development Plan for 2004 to 2010.

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