Posted on September 03, 2013

Today Qatar Airways further expanded its operations in China with the launch of scheduled flights to Chengdu, the airline’s sixth destination to China.

Flight QR884 arrived at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to an impressive water salute, following its non-stop journey from the airline’s operational hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar. All passengers and operating crew of the maiden flight received a warm welcome from the airport officials.

The new thrice weekly flights now join Qatar Airways’ five other Chinese gateways - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Chongqing – for a total of 41 flights per week. “Qatar Airways saw an immense potential to operate in Chengdu, which is set to play a critical role in the next wave of economic development in Western China,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker.

“It’s hardly a surprise, therefore, that nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have opened offices in the city, and that Chengdu is aiming to become China’s fastest growing aviation hub.”

The new Chengdu flights represent the significance of China’s growing economy in the worldwide context.  Significant industries in Chengdu include: electronics and information; machinery, particularly automotive and aerospace parts; medicine; food and tobacco processing; metallurgy; and petroleum.

“Qatar Airways is delighted to launch our latest gateway in China,” continued Al Baker. “The opening of Chengdu shows our commitment to a vibrant and flourishing economy in the country’s next key economic and transportation hub. We remember fondly in 2011 when we launched Chongqing, offering the first non-stop route from Western China to the Middle East. We are extremely honoured to have another opportunity to contribute to this thriving region yet again.”

Chengdu becomes the 130th destination in the Qatar Airways global network, and now adds to over 15% of the airline’s routes which fly across Asia.

The Chengdu route is operated with an Airbus A330 in a two-class configuration of up to 248 seats in Economy and 36 in Business Class. 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 900 audio and video on demand options.

Added Al Baker: “2013 has been a fantastic year for Qatar Airways and today we expand to eight new routes since this January. Over the next few years, we will increase our global footprint, providing greater travel options for business and leisure passengers, taking them to key business markets, holiday hotspots and underserved regions around the world.”

Flight schedules, between Chengdu and Doha, are as follows:

DOHA – CHENGDU: 3-times-a-week, effective September 3, 2013 Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays  QR884   Depart Doha at 0200 hrs                                    Arrive Chengdu at 1430 hrs     CHENGDU– DOHA: 3-times-a-week, effective September 3, 2013 Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays QR885   Depart Chengdu at 0100 hrs                             Arrive Doha at 0350 hrs

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 130 key business and leisure destinations worldwide. Qatar Airways has so far launched eight destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq) and Chengdu, China.

Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Ta’if, Saudi Arabia (October 2), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014).