Qatar Airways planning new destinations in India

Ashwaq Masoodi

Brussels, Feb 1 (PTI) Qatar Airways is planning toexpand its network to India by reaching out to newdestinations in the country in a bid to boost its share in thelucrative aviation market.

"We are planning to operate in two new destinations inIndia. India is a great country and has strong cultural,political and economic relation with my country," QatarAirways CEO Akbar Al Baker told PTI here.

Already covering 11 cities in India, the airline ismulling on spreading its wings further.

Not specifying which all countries are in thepipeline, Baker said, "Its important for Qatar to look atIndia. We have many plans in India, which I will not discloseas I love giving surprises."

With no immediate plans to expand the capacity of theaircrafts used by the airlines in India, he said, "As of nowwe are not planning to increase the capacity of the aircrafts.

We haven''t yet maximised the capacity."

Qatar Airways currently spreads across 11 Indiancities � in addition to Bengaluru, daily flights to Delhi,Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Cochin, Trivandrum, Kozhikode,Ahmedabad and Goa, with four services-a-week to Amritsar.

He said there are many air traffic rights under thebilateral air service agreement between India and Qatar, whichthe airline hasn''t utilised.

"We expand in a planned way. We will not dump anyrights or the capacity just for the sake of it. We still haveroom to expand," he said.

Speaking about the under construction airport...NewDoha International Airport, he said, "It is the most efficientand most user friendly airport. The airport will be completeby 2012."

The national airline for the state of Qatar spans itsnetwork to six continents, with a fleet of 94 aircrafts.

Addressing a press conference here, a day after thelaunch of the inaugural flight from Doha to Brussels, Bakersaid, "Till 2020, almost two-thirds of our fleet will bereplaced by A 350s."

About the order of A380s by the airline, Baker said,"We have high load factors. We were supposed to receive theorders of A380s by 2009. We have, however delayed it becauseof the NDIA work going on."

The Brussels Doha route launch established QatarAirways'' 98th international destination and marked the Gulfcarrier''s third new Europena route. It has been operatingflights to both Bucharest and Budapest from its Doha hub inJanuary.

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