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Qatar Airways touches down on Bali
March 29th, 2007

With its inaugural flight to Bali which landed here at Denpasar International Airport yesterday evening, Qatar Airways became the first Middle Eastern carrier to provide a direct link to this tropical island, the second service to Indonesia after Jakarta

Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Qatar Airways who arrived on the inaugural flight was welcomed at the tarmac of the airport by Wardiyatmo, Senior Adviser for the Indonesian Minister for Economy, Science and Technology amid a grand ceremony in a festive atmosphere which included traditional Balinese dances and songs.

Flights will operate four times a week to Bali, using Airbus A300-600 aircraft with up to 30 seats in Business Class and 234 in Economy Class.

Speaking at the welcoming ceremony, Al Baker said that Bali is famous for its rich culture and hospitality and that as a growing tourist destination, Qatar Airways is keen to contribute to this developing industry in Indonesia.

“We have started with four flights a week to Bali. In the very near future we will be operating additional frequencies to Bali. We are not going to stop here,” he said.

He also expressed hope that the Indonesian authorities would soon provide an opportunity to the carrier to service Surabaya city on the island of Java.

Later, at a dinner party hosted to mark Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Bali, Al Baker said in his address that the new route would give Bali a huge tourism lift.

“We will bring tourists from across our international network to Bali via our hub in Doha to enjoy the breathtaking scenic beauty that this island offers,” Al Baker told guests.

He recalled the tremendous challenges that Bali had gone through in recent years, but pointed out that the island’s tourism industry has bounced back with vigour.

Al Baker said that Qatar Airways looks forward to working with hotels, tour operators, ground handlers and the rest of travel trade in Bali to make the new route a success.

“The region is an area of focus for us. We want to share in the economic prosperity of the rapidly growing markets in this part of the world,” he said.

He said that with the start of the summer flying season, Qatar Airways has increased frequency to many destinations with nine routes from Doha this year, including New York and Washington.

New York comes on line on June 28 with four flights a week, he said, adding that Geneva will also be served four times a week from the same date, while Washington DC will join the network during the summer with daily flights.

Al Baker said that Qatar Airways is also planning to service Stockholm towards the end of the year.

In his message read at the dinner party, Ir Jero Wacik, SE, Indonesian Minister of Culture and Tourism said that the direct flight from Doha to Bali would eliminate the shortage of seats especially during the holiday season, when many tourists come to Bali.

“We see around one million potential European tourists to fly to Indonesia in 2007, with Bali as one of their destinations,” said Wacik, SE.

He said the Qatar Airways flight was a milestone for Indonesian tourism and will allow it to increase the number of international tourists from European countries as well as Middle East, who plan to travel directly to Bali.

Wacik, SE expressed hope that Qatar Airways’ four times a week flights with 1,000 passengers’ capacity can be increased to daily flights to anticipate the demand of international tourists.

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