Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, is to begin serving Canada for the first time with the launch of scheduled flights to Montréal on June 29.
The airline will be the only Gulf carrier to serve Montréal, which is Canada’s second-largest city and the largest in the French-speaking province of Québec, though Québec City is the province’s capital.
Qatar Airways will serve Montréal non-stop from Doha three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with Boeing 777-200LRs. The non-stop journey from the airline’s hub in Doha to Montréal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport will require a total flying time of 13 hrs 20 minutes.
The destination marks Qatar Airways’ first foray into Canada following a series of bilateral negotiations in Doha last year, when the airline secured rights to fly passenger and cargo flights to the country.
Montréal becomes Qatar Airways’ fourth destination in North America. The airline already operates daily flights to New York, Washington and Houston.
The airline says the Doha-Montréal route will facilitate trade and leisure, providing seamless connectivity for travellers from east to west. With Qatar Airways’ extensive network of destination across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Far East, the airline says it will offer excellent connections over Doha to and from Montréal.
A city renowned for its festivals and arts scene, Montréal is home to the well-known international dance troupe Cirque du Soleil, the IMAX cinemas, aircraft manufacturing company Bombardier and top-ranked universities McGill and Concordia.
“Yet again, we are announcing another new chapter in our remarkable short history with a move into Canada and a strengthening of our North American operations,” says Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways chief executive officer. “It truly is a milestone to bring Canada and, in particular, Montréal, into the Qatar Airways’ family of international routes. The introduction of our Montréal service will provide a strong transportation link between Canada and Qatar and further facilitate the already strong economic ties between our countries.”
Adds Al Baker: “According to the government agency Export Development Canada, there are more than 1,500 Canadian companies doing business in the Gulf and Qatar, in particular, is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in the Middle East. With the oil and gas industry being a key connection that naturally aligns us, we hope that as soon as our thrice-weekly service is well-established and boosts the Qatari and Canadian economy to receive additional traffic rights for a daily operation to Montréal.”
Al Baker comments: “Montréal is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world and we hope to have paved the way for expanded capacity into Canada and operate to additional cities in the future. There is natural demand for travel from many parts of our international network to Canada, and thanks to our scheduling we are able to offer convenient connections over Doha.”
Connections available on Qatar Airways from Montréal include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Beirut, Tehran, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Delhi, Mumbai and Karachi.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Qatar Airways, one of the most prestigious airlines in the world. We certainly can take pride as this new non-stop service to Doha is a huge asset for Greater Montreal and once again confirms Montréal-Trudeau as a truly international airport,” says James Cherry, Aéroports de Montréal’s President and CEO said:
During a visit to Qatar last year, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan, revealed that the first Canadian Embassy in Qatar was expected to open in the capital Doha during the summer of 2011. Van Loan said there were immense business opportunities tapping into Qatar’s burgeoning economy. Canadian companies finding business opportunities in Qatar include include legal firms, engineering consultancies and construction companies.
Qatar is home to more than 3,000 Canadian citizens and two Canadian-university satellite campuses, The College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary.
Canadian nationals arriving in Qatar may enter the country without prior visa arrangements. Passengers with Qatar as their end destination may enter by obtaining a visa on arrival, a service extended to 33 countries, with Canada being one of them.
The Boeing 777-200LR on the Montréal route has a two-class operation, offering 42 seats in Business in a 2–2–2 cabin layout, with a seat pitch of 78 inches and seats which stretch into lie-flat beds.
In Economy, the Boeing 777-200LR offers 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a pitch of up to 34 inches, which Qatar Airways says is among the most generous of any international airline flying widebody aircraft on long-haul routes.
The in-flight interactive entertainment system offers a choice of more than 900 audio and video on demand options, available to every passenger in both cabins.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 94 aircraft to 98 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
The airline started off the year with a focus on Europe, launching three new destinations on the continent – Bucharest, Budapest and Brussels.
On March 6, Qatar Airways adds Stuttgart to its global network, followed on April 6 with new flights to the historic Syrian city of Aleppo – the airline’s milestone 100th destination. Flights to Shiraz, Qatar Airways’ third gateway in Iran begin on June 5, followed 10 days later on June 15 by scheduled services to Venice, the carrier’s third destination in Italy.
Qatar Airways’ Doha-Montréal schedule will see its flight QR927 depart Doha International Airport (DOH) at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and land at Montréal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL) at 2:50 p.m. local time. In the other direction, flight QR928 is timed to leave YUL at 11:15 p.m. and reach DOH at 6:40 p.m. the following day, local time.
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key destinations worldwide, using a fleet of more than 120 aircraft. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 24 Airbus A320-family aircraft, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007.
The airline is a customer for the Airbus A380, with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport is scheduled to open.
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