Qatar Airways welcomed Air Canada’s inaugural flight from Toronto to Doha today, establishing Hamad International Airport as the only airport in the Middle East to be operated with a scheduled service by a North American carrier. The flight was welcomed with a water cannon salute at Hamad International Airport and a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Her Excellency Ambassador Stefanie McCollum, Ambassador of Canada to Qatar along with Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker and Hamad International Airport Chief Operating Officer Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer.
Today’s inaugural flight marks the first ever Air Canada flight to Doha and signifies the further strengthening of relations between Canada and the State of Qatar. Qatar Airways and Air Canada recently signed a codeshare agreement applicable for travel between Doha and Toronto. The agreement will enable both airline’s passengers to enjoy seamless, one stop connections to and from Toronto via the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport and onwards to more than 75 destinations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Ambassador of Canada to Qatar, Her Excellency Ambassador Stefanie McCollum, said: “It is wonderful to be here to witness, and to welcome, Air Canada’s inaugural flight to Doha. It is another tangible example of the growing commercial and social ties between our two countries. Qatar is an important partner for Canada, and the connectivity these flights provide is another positive evolution in our strong bilateral relations.”
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “I am extremely delighted with this strong relationship that Qatar Airways has with Air Canada under the pioneering leadership of my friend, Calin Rovinescu who has put Air Canada’s strong brand on the world aviation map. Air Canada, one of the most successful airlines in North America, will add huge value to Qatar Airways’ expanding network. Canada is a strategically important market for Qatar Airways, and this service will complement our existing four weekly service to Montreal and provide our travellers with additional options when planning travel to and from Canada. We look forward to harnessing our complementary strengths to increase choices for our thousands of passengers and enable smooth connectivity to a significant number of new destinations – particularly throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East..”
Air Canada President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Calin Rovinescu, said: “I am delighted to strengthen our relationship with Qatar Airways, one of the world’s best airlines, which will allow Air Canada to better respond to shifting demand trends. As Air Canada rebuilds its global network, we are strategically developing new routes and pivoting towards markets that cater to Canada’s growing multicultural population. As more of our customers resume international travel next year, this enhanced agreement will allow Canadians more convenient options to visit family and friends, as well as open-up exciting new destinations. I am especially grateful to my good friend, H.E. Akbar Al Baker, for the warm welcome he has extended Air Canada in Doha.”
Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport said: “Hamad International Airport has been successful in continuing to render its award-winning services to the world to ensure global connectivity. With focus on ensuring passenger choice, flexibility, and emotional well-being, we are delighted to extend our offerings of convenience and accessibility to Air Canada passengers”.
Hamad International Airport benefits from its strategic location, as 80% of the world’s population is within a six-hour flight of HIA, which offers more convenient connection options for global travellers. With its multi-dimensional lifestyle offerings in retails, hospitality, and culture alongside its passenger-empowering technologies, HIA is the preferred gateway to the world for global travellers.
Qatar Airways began flying to Canada in June 2011 with three weekly flights to Montreal that expanded to four weekly in December 2018. The airline has worked closely with the Government of Canada and its embassies around the world throughout the pandemic, temporarily operating three weekly services to Toronto in addition to charter flights to Vancouver to help bring more than 40,000 passengers home to Canada.
Qatar Airways’ strategic investment in a variety of fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft, including the largest fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, has enabled it to continue flying throughout this crisis and perfectly positions it to lead the sustainable recovery of international travel. The airline recently took delivery of three new state-of-the-art Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, increasing its total A350 fleet to 52 with an average age of just 2.6 years. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not environmentally justifiable to operate such a large, four-engine aircraft in the current market. Qatar Airways has also recently launched a new programme that enables passengers to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey at the point of booking.
By the end of the IATA Winter Season, Qatar Airways plans to rebuild its network to 126 destinations including 20 in Africa, 11 in the Americas, 42 in Asia-Pacific, 38 in Europe and 15 in the Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.