Doha: Qatar Airways will soon operate a dedicated non-stop flight to Buenos Aires, its CEO Akbar Al Baker said at a press conference in the Argentine capital today. Addressing regional and international media, Al Baker added that the airline would also announce two more destinations to China “very soon”.
The Doha-based airline currently operates a Doha-Buenos Aires route linked via a stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Latin America has never been exposed to the Middle East before and I am sure this route will lead to expansion of businesses between the two,” said Al Baker. “The route provides a key gateway for commercial, leisure and tourism traffic and opens the door to further expansion into South America.
“We also plan to be a major player in freight business,” he added.
Launched in June, the inaugural Doha-Sao Paolo–Buenos Aires route followed an agreement signed earlier between the State of Qatar and Argentina for cooperation in economy, trade and sports.
Dubai-owned Emirates launched its Dubai-Sao Paulo route in 2007.
Responding to questions about its Chinese destinations, Al Baker said his airline will soon announce two new routes to the country. Qatar Airways already serves Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou from its Doha hub. The airline also recently announced its 100th destination to Aleppo, Syria, scheduled to begin from April next year.
Earlier this year, Al Baker had said that Qatar Airways, with $35 billion (Dh128 billion) of planes on order, will stick with its expansion plans even amid mounting evidence that global growth is set to slow. The airline currently operates a fleet of 91 aircraft to 95 destinations.
One of five Airbus A380 aircraft on order will be delivered by 2012, said Al Baker, adding that Qatar Airways has not decided which engines it will use in the superjumbo jets.
The CEO also said that his airline was “well placed” for growth.
“We are a strong airline. We have a lot of cash to fuel the growth,” he said. “By 2013, we plan to serve 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of 120 aircraft.”
The government of Qatar, which holds a 50 per cent stake in Qatar Airways, with the rest owned by private investors, will inaugurate the $14.5 billion New Doha International Airport next year. Built on reclaimed land, the new airport will compliment the existing Doha International Airport , located five kilometers away, which has also been spruced up at the cost of $1billion.