Qatar Airways has reiterated that it won’t be flying to Sydney anytime soon.
Sydney was emphatically ruled out yesterday by the airline’s dynamic CEO Akbar Al Baker in an exclusive interview with Travel Daily on board QR’s inaugural flight from Doha to Belgrade, Serbia.
“We won’t fly to Sydney as it’s not a 24hr airport like Melbourne and Perth; we don’t arrive until late at night because of our flight schedules, we need to fly in & fly out, so unless there’s a change in Sydney’s overnight curfew, we can’t fly there,” added Al Baker.
But the Gulf carrier is spreading its wings elsewhere with Belgrade its latest entry into Eastern Europe and the airline’s 11th new route of the year.
QR is really on a roll. The very day it launched Belgrade, the first of its 60 B787 Dreamliners took to the skies on a maiden flight from Doha to Dubai. Next month, the carrier launches service to Warsaw, Poland, then Chicago early next year.
“It’s never a dull moment at Qatar,” an airline official told TD.
Al Baker, the architect of Qatar’s rapid rise keeps a sharp eye on quality control, and he is a stickler for perfection.
On a stopover in Ankara, Turkey on the way to Belgrade, he found there was something wrong with his seat. Sitting right behind him, TD heard him call head office in Doha and he let it be known in no uncertain terms that he wanted the problem fixed immediately when the A320 returned to home base.
Belgrade became the 121st destination for the airline, and QR flight 462 received the traditional “water salute” as it taxied in to Nikola Telsa Airport. Al Baker and local Serb dignitaries were treated to a colourful Serbian folklore dance performance.
“In the past two years, we’ve embarked on a major expansions drive, focusing much of our attention on Europe starting flights to a record seven destinations, including Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice, Sofia and Oslo, and we now look forward to welcoming all of our new pax from Belgrade to try our world-renowned 5-star service and we promise them a travel experience to remember,” added Al Baker.
Flight time is 7hrs from Doha to Belgrade, including a brief stop in Ankara on the Airbus A320 which offers 12 Business Class seats and 132 in Economy.
Pc shows Al Baker with two of his flight crew on arrival in Belgrade