Qatar Airways eyes slice of Thai tourism market
Qatar Airways, the Gulf state’s national carrier, has launched scheduled flights to Phuket, its second destination in Thailand.
The route, the eighth new destination announced by the state-backed airline in 2010, forms part of a concerted push by the airline to capitalise on tourist traffic to the island.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways said it would ramp up daily flights from Doha to Bangkok from twice daily, to three times a day, effective from November 1.
“Visitor numbers to Phuket are on the rise and Qatar Airways will look to take advantage of our European connections from countries like Russia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and other parts of Europe to bring them to Phuket. Foreign visitors are expected to top 4.5 million in 2010 and with only a handful of airlines offering flights from Europe, the opportunity is there for us to acquire market share,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways.
Flights on the new route will operate from Doha to Phuket via Kuala Lumpur and are scheduled to provide connections from several of Qatar Airways’ key markets in Europe, which form the bulk of tourist traffic to the holiday island.
The additional route raises the airline’s total number of destinations to 93, and extends its Asia Pacific route network to 17 destinations.
Globally, the airline plans to launch six further routes within the next six months, including Hanoi, Nice, Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels and Stuttgart.
Earlier this month, Qatar Airways said it expected to receive its first Airbus A350 XWB in mid-2013.
The state carrier has 80 aircraft on order, representing almost 15 percent of the Airbus A350’s global order book.