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Qatar Airways launches flights to Yangon

Qatar Airways touches down in Myanmar becoming carrier’s 10th gateway in the ASEAN region, expanding firther into South East Asia.

YANGON, MYANMAR – Qatar Airways marked the resumption of flights to Yangon after a four-year absence with the launch of scheduled services to Myanmar’s largest city.

Yangon becomes Qatar Airways’ 10th gateway in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) following on from successful operations to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Hanoi, Singapore, Manila and Phuket – and the carrier’s 119th destination worldwide.

It is also the latest of several route launches so far this year by the rapidly-growing global carrier.

Qatar Airways suspended flights to Yangon in January 2008, and is now restoring services, providing greater economic and travel opportunities for the people of Myanmar.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker led a delegation onboard the non-stop overnight flight QR618 from Doha to Yangon. A traditional water salute heralded the arrival of the aircraft this morning as it taxied to the international terminal.

Guests onboard the flight included His Excellency Mr Khin Zaw Win, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and responsible for Qatar, together with international media.

The delegation was officially welcomed at Yangon International Airport by His Excellency U Myint Swe, Chief Minister Yangon Region. The arrival ceremony was attended by more than 60 VIPs and media.

Al Baker said Qatar Airways’ re-entry into Yangon marked one of the Gulf carrier’s most important route launches of the year.

Yangon becomes our ninth new destination so far this year to join Qatar Airways’ family of routes and the first Asian launch in 2012,” he said.

Today marks a very special occasion as we celebrate our arrival into a city and country that show enormous potential and growth, both as a competitive tourism destination and centre for business in the ASEAN region.

There has never been a better time to expand into Myanmar – a country blessed with rich natural resources, and proximity to some of the world’s most dynamic economies.”

The people of Yangon and across Myanmar now have great travel options to more than 90 business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa and The Americas. And similarly, we will be flying business and leisure travellers from around the world with a one-stop product through Doha, helping contribute to the revival of Myanmar’s once burgeoning economy.”

Added Al Baker: “At Qatar Airways, we remain committed to opening up access to destinations that are largely underserved by international airlines and that have great market potential. Yangon is an example of this and 2012 will continue to be one of our biggest years of expansion addressing the underserved markets that our strategy has focused on” .

As we continue to grow and receive more aircraft, we will look at other opportunities to expand our network and further strengthen our brand presence around the world. This includes the ASEAN region, especially at a time when the region is preparing to implement its open skies policy in 2015, which will open up air access even more to this dynamic part of the world.”

Qatar Airways is operating thrice-weekly non-stop scheduled flights into Yangon from its Doha hub, flying an Airbus 319 aircraft in a two-class configuration offering eight seats in Business and 102 in Economy.

The former capital of Yangon and current gateway to Myanmar has by far the largest airport in the country, handling around 2.5 million passengers annually, two-thirds being international visitors – a figure set to rise sharply as airlines start flights from other markets.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 111 aircraft to 119 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

The Asia Pacific and South Asia represent around 30 per cent of Qatar Airways’ global coverage, flying to diverse cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka, Tokyo, Perth, Beijing, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Colombo.

Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).

Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Maputo, Mozambique (October 31); Belgrade, Serbia (November 20); Warsaw, Poland (December 5); Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); and Chicago, USA (April 10).

Photo caption: Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, third left, is presented with a memento by His Excellency U Myint Swe, Chief Minister, Yangon Region Government, to mark the airline’s return to Myanmar. With them from left at Yangon International Airport, are: His Excellency U Aung Khin, Minister of Transport, Yangon Region; His Excellency Khin Zaw Win, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and responsible for Qatar; His Excellency Jabor Ali Al-Dosseri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Qatar to Thailand and responsible for Myanmar; and His Excellency U Hla Myint, Mayor of Yangon City.