Monday, January 30, 2012

Qatar Airways’ Opens London Lounge, Eyes Major 2012 Expansion

Qatar Airways launches its premium lounge at London Heathrow which marks the beginning of another eventful year for the Doha based airline. 2012 will be all about capacity enhancement on existing routes and addition of new routes on the Qatar’s network.

The Doha-based Qatar Airways has launched its new premium lounge for first and business class travellers at Terminal 4 of the London’s Heathrow Airport.

The premium lounge has been designed like a boutique hotel instead of the traditional lounge facility for an airline at the airports, and is staffed with employees hired from five star hotels and restaurants. The lounge has a capacity to house 90 passengers and features a theatre-style Global Brasserie kitchen, innovative Delicatessen, Signature Martini bar, private shower services, heated floors and mirrors, hotel-style towels, branded toiletries, etc.

The free Wi-Fi network and discreet power sockets at each seat are other facilities provided to the passengers booking tickets for on Qatar flights to London from Doha, and return.

At the launch of this premium lounge, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker said: “The lounge is the latest development in our rapidly expanding global route network and we are eyeing opportunities to open further airport lounges in destinations where we operate more than two frequencies a day”.

Qatar’s 2012 Route Expansion Plan

The airline has announced additional capacity for its Heathrow – Doha route by increasing the present four flights to five, effective March 25. This will considerably add to the daily inventory of economy class tickets for passengers looking for cheap flights to London with the airline.

More importantly, in the year 2012, the airline is planning to operate several new flight routes. The expansion begins with Baku in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi in Georgia with flights launching on February 1. This will be soon followed by flight to Kigali in Rwanda on March 21; Zagreb, Croatia on May 9 and Perth, Western Australia on July 3. The dates for flights to Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Mombasa (Kenya) and Zanzibar (Tanzania) are yet to be declared.

Operations to Perth is set realise Qatar’s capacity enhancement goal for Australia that the airline has been considering since it launched direct flights to Melbourne in December 2009. Flights to Perth will use Boeing 777 with two class configuration – 42 Seats for Business and 217 economy class.

Qatar Plans to Operate First Dreamliner from Heathrow

Qatar Airways is aiming to become the first airline to operate the Boeing 787 from the UK. Boeing 787 Dreamliner is considered to be unbeatable in terms of fuel efficiency and passengers can expect that airlines may pass on the fuel cost saving in the form of cheap flight tickets to them.

The Dreamliner will be configured with two travel classes – business class for luxury seekers and economy class for passengers looking for comparatively cheap flights tickets with the airline.

Out of five flights to London, the airline will be offering one daily flight with the Dreamliner later in 2012. The airline is scheduled to get the delivery of its first 787 in the coming summer and will make London as its first destination outside the Gulf.

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