December 28, 2018: State-owned Qatar Airways had a successful run in 2017 with new routes and doubling frequencies despite the regional challenges. The airline also celebrated the 20th year of operations throughout 2017.
Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of two new Boeing 747-800 freighters and its thirteenth Boeing 777 freighter this year, continuing its trajectory of rapid growth and expansion. In October, Qatar Airways Cargo announced Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as its latest freighter destination in the United States, making it the first international airline to commence freighter service to Pittsburgh. The cargo carrier also added Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Quito, Miami, Phnom Penh and Yangon to its dedicated freighter network in 2017, strengthening its commitment to supporting the global air trade and supply chain industry.
Qatar Airways Cargo has opened two new facilities during the summer, its dedicated Climate Control Centre and Cargo Overflow structure, providing close to an additional 10,000 sqm of temperature-controlled handling space for managing an increase in food imports into Qatar.
Qatar Airways Cargo recorded high volumes, revenues, yields and market shares in 2017, and was the only international cargo carrier with significant growth in freight tonnes kilometres (FTK) this year.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said, â€œThis year, our twentieth anniversary as an airline, is particularly special for us. As we reflect on our achievements, we reaffirm our commitment to providing excellence in the skies, ensuring that our passengerâ€™s holiday or leisure trip starts the moment they step onto one of our aircraft. We remain committed to expanding our global network, and to take our passengers anywhere in the world they wish to go.â€
Qatar Airways launched 11 exciting new destinations in 2017, including Auckland, New Zealand â€“ the worldâ€™s longest commercial flight - Nice; France; Dublin, Republic of Ireland; Skopje; Sohar, Oman; Kyiv, Ukraine; Prague, Czech Republic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Adana, Turkey; Chiang Mai, Thailand and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Also, it launched flights to Chiang Mai, its fourth destination in Thailand, the airline also introduced a fifth daily non-stop service to Bangkok as well as a daily service to Krabi. In January 2018, it will commence service to Pattaya, the airlineâ€™s fifth Thai destination.
Qatar Airways will also add a new direct daily service to Hanoi, with Ho Chi Minh Cityâ€™s daily service increasing by three flights a week to 10 starting January 1, 2018.
The airline introduced its superjumbo A380 aircraft to Melbourne and will soon introduce it on its Perth route, enhancing capacity to Australia ahead of the airlineâ€™s launch of service to Canberra in 2018. Qatar Airways became the first airline ever to fly the state-of-the-art Airbus A350 to the Maldives twice daily.
It also doubled its frequencies to a number of destinations in Eastern Europe, the Nordics and Russia, following a significant increase in passenger demand to the popular destinations of Warsaw, Helsinki, and Moscow, with increases to Prague and Kyiv following just shortly after the launch of the routes themselves.
He added, â€œAfter twenty years of service, we vow to never rest on our achievements, but rather to focus on how we can continue to innovate and to deliver an exceptional five-star experience to every one of our passengers, no matter what class they travel. Against the backdrop of the illegal blockade against the State of Qatar, we are more committed than ever to welcoming everyone onboard and taking them wherever they need to go.â€
Qatar Airways took delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2017, taking its total fleet to 212 aircraft. The airline also recently upsized an earlier order for 50 Airbus A320neo with a firm order instead of 50 of the larger A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration).
Qatar Airways continued to forge strong partnerships around the world and proved its commitment to creating lasting relationships with global partners. In November, it announced an acquisition in fellow oneworld member Cathay Pacific, purchasing approximately 9.61 percent of Cathay Pacificâ€™s total issued share capital.
The airline further strengthened its commitment to Italy with the acquisition of 49 percent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Meridiana fly (Meridiana), while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda has kept 51 percent.
In June Qatar Airways released its annual results for the 2017 fiscal year, revealing an impressive 21.7 percent year-on-year net profit increase. The results also showed an annual revenue increase of 10.4 percent.
The airlines have a healthy line up for 2018 as well. It will launch a host of new destinations, including Penang, Malaysia; Canberra, Australia; Thessaloniki, Greece and Cardiff, Wales, the airlineâ€™s fifth UK gateway, to name just a few. The airline will also be the global launch customer and launch operator of the Airbus A350-1000 in 2018.