Oct 20 - 26, 2008

Qatar Airways has again topped polls at the 19th Annual TTG Travel Awards. The airline was voted best in the Middle East following an awards ceremony in Bangkok.

Readers of the leading travel trade publication again recognised Qatar Airways as the standout airline in the Middle East, the third year in a row that the Qatar's national carrier has been honoured.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was delighted that the airline scooped the award, fending off strong competition in the region.

"Once again, Qatar Airways has shown it is the preferred airline for the travel industry in Asia. This award demonstrates the consistency and dedication that the airline is committed to providing its valuable customers," Al Baker said.

"We have massive expansion plans for the Far East region. Recognition such as this award will continue to spur the airline on in its development.

"The airline continues to be an industry leader and innovator. We are honoured that this commitment to excellence has been recognised by our peers," he added.


Qatar Airways remains on schedule to launch daily non-stop flights between Doha and New York on October 26 despite the continuing Boeing strike affecting aircraft deliveries.

The Doha-based airline has been given assurances by Boeing that its fourth Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft to be used on the route, will be delivered in time and not affect the New York operational schedule.

Once delivered, the aircraft will be paired with a second Boeing 777, which arrived in Doha at the end of August, to begin the daily non-stop service linking the Qatari capital with New York's JFK International Airport.

'Qatar Airways' existing New York operation has proved very successful since its launch in Summer 2007 and we look forward to offering our customers an enhanced service to and from one of the world's most important cities by switching the flights from Newark to JFK," said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

"Our new daily non-stop flight from Doha to New York's JFK International Airport further strengthens our commitment to serving the North American continent. We already serve Washington non-stop from Doha so the additional capacity into New York will give us double daily flights between Qatar and the United States."

Meanwhile, Al Baker announced plans to defer the launch of the carrier's third US route connecting Doha and Houston - the energy capitals of the Middle East and United States - to March 30 next year due to aircraft delivery schedules affected by the current strike by Boeing employees.

The first of Qatar Airways' Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft to be used on the route was due to be delivered in November ahead of the scheduled December 8 Houston launch. But due to uncertainty over future aircraft deliveries arising from the Boeing machinist's strike, Qatar Airways has decided to postpone the launch to March 30, 2009.

Al Baker said that the strike had severely affected the airline's Houston plans.

"There is no possibility of being able to operate the Houston route as planned due to the unfortunate events at Boeing so we decided to shift the launch date to a more reasonable time in March next year. This way, we can be assured of having available the required long-range aircraft to serve Houston," he added.

"We are committed to serving Houston and have worked tirelessly over the past few months, injecting tremendous effort and energy in preparing for a December launch.

'Qatar Airways is taking all steps necessary to contact passengers who have booked tickets to and from Houston and assist them with making alternative travel arrangements," explained Al Baker.

"We remain determined to provide the travelling public with the highest quality of service and product available in the skies, and we look forward to offering our 5-star service on a growing number of routes, including Houston, in the near future.