Qatar Airways to Launch Incheon-Doha Service
By Do Je-hae
Qatar Airways unveiled plans Monday to launch direct services between Incheon and Doha, Qatar in March 2010. Previously, the airline provided an Incheon-Doha route that involved a transfer in Osaka, Japan and took a total of 14 hours and 30 minutes.
The new direct route will shorten travel time by 5 hours and operate seven times a week.
"The service is expected to increase the number of travelers from the Korean market choosing to fly with Qatar Airways," a publicist with the airline said. "In terms of flight duration and price, the new route is beneficial for travelers to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Qatar Airways flies to 85 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and the Americas, and plans to expand its destinations to 120 cities by 2013.
It is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, recording almost 40 percent annual growth since 1997. It has ordered more than 220 large aircrafts as part of efforts to increase its profile as one of the world's premiere airlines.
News of the new Incheon-Doha route comes just days after Qatar Airways announced plans to launch flights to Bengaluru (Bangalore) in southern India; Ankara, Turkey; and Tokyo, starting in February 2010. The airline also plans to launch flights to Sydney, its second Australian destination, in 2010.
Additionally, the airline announced Sunday that Copenhagen and Barcelona will join the airline’s ever-expanding route network during its summer schedule, which begins at the end of March 2010.
The commencement of four weekly flights to Copenhagen will see the airline significantly increase its presence in Scandinavia. Qatar Airways currently serves Stockholm non-stop from Doha, a route launched two years ago.
The airline also recently announced that it will run daily flights on its Stockholm route from March next year. With Copenhagen being added, Qatar Airways will further strengthen its operations in Scandinavia, cementing its place as the only carrier from a Gulf Cooperation Council country to serve the region.
Barcelona will become the second Spanish city served by Qatar Airlines, after Madrid, when daily services commence to the popular Mediterranean port city. The new route underscores a growing commitment by the airline to the Spanish market following earlier capacity increases to the country’s capital city.
As Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona is a popular tourist destination. It is home to one of Europe’s main ports and is a thriving hub for finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts and international trade.
"The addition of Copenhagen and Barcelona, along with Ankara, which we announced a few days ago, follows the airline's strategy to expand its operations to diverse and underserved cities from the Gulf," Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said.
“By adding these three cities to our route network, we are demonstrating our commitment to expanding our presence in Europe and introducing new travelers to our award-winning five-star services, as well as to provide our existing passengers with even more destinations and convenient travel options.
“The airline’s business model continues to prove successful and Qatar Airways is looking forward to yet another eventful year, with 2010 shaping up to being one of our busiest.”