Qatar Airways will fly Doha-Chengdu three times a week by A330 from 3rd September. Chengdu which is a city of 14m in Western China is about to become the carrier’s sixth destination in China alongside Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The new route will serve business and tourism demand from France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the Middle East. In the words of Akbar Al Baker, Qatar’s CEO, China is one of carrier’s key markets and the new service is part of the airline’s commitment to boost services to Far East and Asia Pacific.
Chengdu is ranked as China’s fourth wealthiest city and Chengdu Shuangilu International Airport (CTU) is China’s fifth busiest International Airport. Qatar Airways had announced in December last year that it would launch flights to Chengdu in March but the new service was delayed by global grounding of B787 Dreamliners over safety concerns. British Airways is also open thrice weekly B777-200 flights from Heathrow to Chengdu’s capital Sichuan Province from 22nd September.
So far this year, Qatar Airways has launched six destinations: Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah(Oman ) and Basra (Iraq). Over the next few months, the network will expand with Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia (April 2, 2014).