DOHA: The ongoing expansion of Qatar Airways in central and eastern Europe and its latest route launch to Sofia is strategically important to boost business and tourism, says Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of the national carrier.
“Direct Qatar Airways’ flights from Sofia to Doha and beyond will give Bulgarian businesses and tourists the ideal gateway into key markets of eastbound destinations that we serve, offering convenient connections to numerous destinations including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, China and Australia,” said Al Baker speaking at a press conference in the Bulgarian capital yesterday.
“Travellers to Bulgaria will be given easier access to this market, which holds considerable potential for businesses, as well as tourism that Qatar Airways looks forward to tap into,” he said.
The launch of scheduled flights to Bulgaria’s capital city complements the airline’s earlier services to neighbouring Bucharest and Budapest with the carrier now flying to three strategic cities in this emerging part of Europe.
Highly underserved by long-haul international airlines, the central eastern European countries of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania have created a formidable business opportunity for Qatar Airways in the space of just nine months. With four-flights-a-week operating between Doha and Sofia via Bucharest, and daily services linking the Qatari capital with Budapest, the award-winning airline now flies 10-times-a-week to three key cities within the region.
The Romanian capital Bucharest was previously tagged with the airline’s Budapest services at the time of launch in January, but has now been switched to link-up with Sofia. The Doha – Budapest flights now operate non-stop.
“Our rapid footprint in this part of Europe this year has given travellers to and from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, much improved travel options to a wider market, avoiding the need to travel through congested European airports to get to their final decision,” said Al Baker.
Bulgaria is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the region, offering a wide range of activities for visitors to experience, ranging from cultural and historical sightseeing, to the stunning beach hotels of the Black Sea and skiing facilities in the picturesque Pirin Mountains. The country has also been a popular health resort spot since Roman times due to the country’s abundance in healing mineral springs, of which there are over 600.
Since the route was announced in March, Qatar Airways has received positive response from the Bulgarian travel trade and corporate market. The fact that Qatar Airways’ outstanding position in the market as the only Gulf carrier and world’s best airline serving Sofia, is testimony to the importance of a world-class carrier flying to Bulgarian shores.