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Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker meets Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, during visit to Edinburgh

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker conducted a number of high level meetings this week during his visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, ahead of the launch of services between Doha and Edinburgh, which commence on 28 May 2014.
Mr. Al Baker met with Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, to discuss the launch of the new services and Scotland’s potential growth prospects.


Mr. Al Baker said that the airline was pleased to be launching services from the city and that Scotland’s tourism industry, along with infrastructure developments and potential business opportunities were key factors leading the airline’s decision to begin flying there.

“Edinburgh is a key gateway to and from Scotland and an important addition to the Qatar Airways global network. I am pleased to have met some of those leaders helping Scotland to further improve its links to the rest of the world as well as grow its infrastructure. I would like to thank everyone who has helped Qatar Airways develop its new service, especially Edinburgh Airport who have assisted our team throughout,” said Mr. Al Baker.

First Minister Alex Salmond commented: “I am delighted to welcome the new Qatar Airways service between Edinburgh and Doha – the first direct service from Scotland’s capital to the Middle East. “The Qatar Airways plans for this route are really exciting. When it is launched in May, it will result in a significant shortening in flight times to Asia and Australasia, reducing the need for domestic transfers within the UK and making it easier for travellers all over the world to get to Scotland whether on business or pleasure.

“Opening up direct international routes such as this from Scottish airports is hugely important to the economy, bringing as it does improved business and tourism connectivity, and the Scottish Government and our agencies will be working hard with the airline to ensure the new route is a success. I look forward to the service beginning in May.”

Over the course of the visit, meetings took place with other senior Scottish officials and dignitaries, including the Lord Provost, The Right Honorable Donald Wilson, and Malcolm Roughead OBE, Chief Executive of Visit Scotland.

Mr. Al Baker and his delegation were taken on an official visit of the City Chambers as well as Edinburgh Castle, and shown many highlights of the historic artifacts of the Scottish capital city. Qatar Airways also held a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel, to officially announce the forthcoming launch of services from Edinburgh.  Mr. Al Baker announced further details of the new 787 Dreamliner service which is set to significantly reduce journey times from Edinburgh to the airline’s 136 destinations around the world.

Flying direct to and from Edinburgh, the Dreamliner has a two-cabin configuration, comprising of 22 seats in Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats with a high standard of comfort on board, including individual 10.5 inch television screens on all Economy Cass seats and a full complimentary food and beverage service. Passengers will benefit from Qatar Airways’ award-winning inflight hospitality when flying onwards to any of Qatar Airways’ 136 destinations around the world.

Edinburgh will be the airline’s third destination in the UK, preceded by London in 1997 and Manchester in 2003. Qatar Airways currently operates five flights a day from London Heathrow non-stop to Doha and 10 flights per week from Manchester Airport non-stop to Doha. A sixth daily service between Heathrow and Doha will begin on 15th May 2014 on an Airbus A319 offering all-Business Class seating.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 136 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Over the next few months, the network will grow further with Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014), Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29), Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22, 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28, 2014), Miami, USA (June 10, 2014), Haneda, Japan (June 18, 2014), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1, 2014) and Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport, Djibouti (July 27, 2014).

DOHA to EDINBURGH:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
QR 027 departs Doha (DOH) at 08:00; arrives Edinburgh (EDI) at 13:15

EDINBURGH TO DOHA:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
QR 028 departs Edinburgh (EDI) at 14:45; arrives Doha (DOH) at 23:40

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