Posted on October 08, 2011

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has reinforced the strategic importance of the airline’s ongoing expansion in Scandinavia following its latest route launch to Oslo.

The October 5 start-up of scheduled flights to Norway’s capital city complements the airline’s existing services to Stockholm and Copenhagen with the Gulf carrier now flying to three key points in Northern Europe. The new route promises to be a strong catalyst to enhance bilateral trade between Norway and the State of Qatar, and the Middle East in general.

Akbar Al Baker (centre) at a press conference in Oslo. He is flanked by the airline’s Vice President Commercial Europe Paul Johannes (left), and Country Manager Scandinavia, Finland and Baltic States, Gunter Saurwein

There is significant Norwegian private sector interest in Qatar. The world’s largest aluminium plant, Qatalum (Qatar Aluminium), is based in Qatar. The multi-million dollar joint venture is between Qatar Petroleum and the Norwegian company, Norsk Hydro.

“Public demand, huge tourism opportunities and our common trade interests in oil and gas played an important part in Qatar Airways’ decision to open up this new route between our Doha hub and Oslo,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at a press conference in the Norwegian capital.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker at a press conference in Oslo to mark the launch of flights to Norway, the airline’s third destination in Scandinavia

The expansion widens Qatar Airways’ reach in Scandinavia, cementing the carrier’s’ positioning in the Nordic countries.

Doha – Oslo is served five-times-a-week by Qatar Airways, while Stockholm and Copenhagen are each operated daily non-stop from the Qatari capital. Qatar Airways has the biggest capacity of any Gulf carrier serving Scandinavia, a market the Doha-based airline entered in 2007 with the launch of flights to the Swedish capital Stockholm, reinforced with services to Denmark’s capital city started 18 months ago.

All three destinations in Scandinavia – Norway, Denmark and Sweden – are operated with twin-aisle Airbus A330s, offering up to 24 seats in Business Class and 236 in Economy.

All passengers have access to seatback TV screens allowing them to watch programmes at the time of their choice. Regardless of class of travel, passengers can enjoy the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system with a choice of more than 700 audio and video on demand options. 

Oslo is Qatar Airways’ seventh new European destination launched this year following a major expansion drive by the airline on the Continent. This year has already seen European route launches to Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice and Sofia.

Project Manager at VisitOslo, the city’s tourism board, Frode Valland, commenting on Qatar Airways’ entry to Norway, said: “VisitOslo is delighted that more carriers are entering the market.

“We see a continuous growth from high-potential markets such as the Middle East and Asia, and welcome Qatar Airways taking part in this huge expansion. From wildlife watching to dog-sledding in the snow or fjords of breathtaking natural beauty – Norway has it all.”

A packed press conference in Norway’s capital Oslo listened to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker spell out the airline’s expansion plans

Qatar Airways, recently named Airline of the Year 2011 by industry audit Skytrax, is the only Five Star-ranked carrier to operate scheduled flights to Oslo. The airline’s competitive product focuses on comfort, fine onboard cuisine, the latest in-flight entertainment, award-winning in-flight service and a fleet of aircraft that is young and modern averaging just less than four years old.

By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 100 aircraft, flying to more than 100 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

The DOHA – OSLO schedule with effect from October 5:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays 

Depart Doha               QR953 at 0825 hrs, arrive Oslo at 1440 hrs

Depart Oslo                 QR954 at 1610 hrs, arrive Doha at 2355 hrs