Officials of Qatar Airways and Taif Airport, cutting a cake to mark the new service, in Taif, Saudi Arabia, yesterday.
Doha: Qatar Airways has further expanded its operations in Saudi Arabia with the launch of scheduled flights to Taif — the airline’s sixth destination in the Kingdom.
Qatar Airways will operate four flights a week non-stop from Doha to Taif. The addition of this new Saudi city takes the total number of destinations within the airline’s network to 132, providing the people of Taif and surrounding areas wider travel choices. With the new four weekly flights, Qatar Airways now operates 69 flights a week to Saudi.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline was pleased to open this new gateway to Saudi Arabia.
“During the past few months we succeeded in launching two new destinations in Saudi Arabia — Al Gassim and now Taif, which reflects our commitment to reinforcing relations between the State of Qatar and the Kingdom,” Al Baker said.
“We will continue to build bridges between Saudi Arabia and the world as part of our strategy to provide services to flourishing markets underserved by international airlines,” he added.
The Taif route is operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy. The aircraft features seatback TV screens providing all passengers in both cabins with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system — a choice of more than 800 audio and video on demand options together with an SMS text messaging service from each seat.
Qatar Airways new flights offer the people of Taif a variety of travel options to more than 130 destinations around the world including London, Paris, Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Delhi and Mumbai.
Qatar Airways Flight 1206 was welcomed upon arrival in Taif with a traditional and impressive water salute, after which an airport ceremony was attended by local VIPs who welcomed the passengers and operating crew on board the flight.
A high level delegation from the airline’s headquarters in Doha was led by Fathi Al Shehab, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent. He wasmet by Abdulbaset M Al Salafi, Acting Director, Domestic Airport Operations and Abdul Rahman Al Bathi, Taif Airport General Manager. Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 132 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.
Besides Taif, Qatar Airways has so far launched nine destinations this year— Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq) and Chengdu (China) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014).