Qatar Airways continues expansion with Canberra and Penang launches

Gifts were exchanged to mark the start of Qatar Airways’ new service to Penang, its second route to Malaysia, on 6 February, with Qatar Airways’ CCO Ehab Amin (centre) accepting the gift from Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng (right). The three times weekly service from Doha will be expanded to four times weekly from 1 July.

Qatar Airways flight QR906 departed Doha on Sunday 11 February at 07:55, and arrived at Canberra Airport at 08:35 on Monday morning on its first flight linking the capital cities. Commenting on the launch, the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is delighted to be expanding its reach in Australia by launching our fifth gateway into this beautiful country. In 2016, we launched flights to Sydney and Adelaide, clearly demonstrating our commitment to the people of Australia. We are extremely happy to be offering our loyal Australian passengers the chance to explore the newest and most exciting destinations we have added to our global network in the past year, including many European cities such as Dublin, Kiev, Prague and St. Petersburg. We are also confident that Australian travellers will be as excited as we are about our many upcoming new destinations set to launch this year, including Cardiff, Malaga and Mykonos.”

  • Qatar Airways commenced flights to Penang (PEN) on 6 February, its second destination in Malaysia, as it continues its robust expansion plans in Southeast Asia. The three times weekly service from its Doha (DOH) hub will be flown by the oneworld carrier’s 254-seat 787-8 fleet. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to launch direct flights to Penang, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network. Our Kuala Lumpur service started in 2001, and it has since grown to a triple-daily direct non-stop service. The addition of Penang to our global network comes as part of our continued expansion plans in Southeast Asia, as we have recently launched direct services to Thailand’s Chiang Mai and Pattaya, as well as adding extra services to Krabi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.” MD of Malaysia Airports, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, said: “With the current triple-daily frequencies to Kuala Lumpur catering to the many passengers travelling to destinations in North America and Europe, we believe that the same demand for these destinations from Penang is growing rapidly. As one of the busiest airports in Malaysia, Penang recorded seven million passenger movements last year.” At a press conference held after the inaugural flight arrival, Qatar Airways CCO  Ehab Amin, announced the new route will be boosted to a four times weekly frequency from 1 July. No other carriers operate this city and neither of Qatar Airways’ fellow MEB3 carriers Emirates or Etihad Airways flies to Penang either. On 11 February, the oneworld carrier also added a daily 777-300 service from its home hub to Canberra (CBR), its fifth destination in Australia. The flights operate via Sydney, which as a result of this expansion now increases to a double-daily service. There is no competition on the 12,604-kilometre sector to the Australian capital city, and it should be noted that Qatar Airways does not have permission to sell seats on the Sydney-Canberra leg. See how Canberra and Penang airports’ FTWAs compare with other from around the world. 

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