H.E. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: "2019 was another year of great achievement for Qatar Airways. There have been many highlights during the last 12 months, in particular receiving the highly prized Best Airline in the World' award from Skytrax at this year's Paris Air Show. To have won the accolade for a record fifth time for my country and our airline was a truly special moment".
H.E. Al Baker went on saying: "Our many achievements in 2019 are proof of one immutable fact - that Qatar Airways will never deviate from our commitment to provide our millions of passengers with the very best onboard experience every time they travel with us. Our growth over the last 12 months, in the face of adversity, has been impressive and going forward we will look to continue to prosper".
He vowed that Qatar Airways "will strive to continue to deliver the very highest standards of quality and excellence in the industry," looking forward to another year of success in 2020.
Throughout 2019, the airline continued its strategy of investing in the world's most technologically advanced aircraft to drive its ambitious route network growth. Through the course of the year, 32 aircraft were delivered to its Doha headquarters, including its 250th, an Airbus A350-900 in March. By the close of the year, the total combined fleet size of passenger, cargo and Qatar Executive (QE) was 259.
In January, the airline announced that it had converted 10 of its Airbus A321neo order to the A321LR, a longer range variant that will allow it to connect with new growing markets from Doha.
Continuing its proud record of being one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, Qatar Airways launched a range of new destinations in 2019, namely: Davao, Philippines; Gaborone, Botswana; Izmir, Turkey; Langkawi, Malaysia; Lisbon, Portugal; Mogadishu, Somalia; Rabat, Morocco; and Valletta, Malta, increasing the carrier's network to over 160 destinations.
The airline also added a host of new increased frequencies to dozens of destinations including Amman, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Larnaca, Manchester, Miami, Milan, Penang and Vienna. Such additions are designed to give more choice and flexibility for both business and leisure passengers as well as offering flexible cargo options.
In addition, the airline signed a number of new or extended codeshare agreements with world-class airline partners, including IndiGo Airlines, LATAM, China Southern, and Sri Lankan Airlines.
The portfolio and investment strategy of the Qatar Airways Group continued to progress and diversify in 2019. In January, the on-market purchase of certain A shares and H shares of China Southern Airlines Company Limited ("China Southern Airlines") resulted in an aggregate holding of approximately 5 percent of the total issued share capital.
A busy summer saw the airline commit to significant new orders for Boeing aircraft, Gulfstream Executive Jets and GE Engines.
December heralded the announcement of an agreement with Republic of Rwanda to develop, invest and operate in a new international airport at a ceremony in Kigali, witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. The airline will own 60 percent of the new airport with the remainder being held by the Government of the Republic of Rwanda.
Qatar Airways Cargo concluded a very successful 2019, taking delivery of six new Boeing 777 freighters and launching new freighter destinations Almaty, Guadalajara, and Singapore along with capacity increases to several destinations. The airline also added Hanoi and Singapore on its popular and high-demand transpacific route connecting Asia directly to the Americas.
Cargo capacity was also introduced to nine new belly-hold destinations, demonstrating the carrier's commitment to its customers and the growing global trade. For the financial year 2018-19, Cargo revenue witnessed a growth of 16.8 percent with cargo capacity (Available Tonne Kilometres) growing 11.8 percent annually.
Qatar Airways Cargo also placed an order for five more Boeing 777 freighters at the Paris Air Show in June 2019.
The cargo carrier bagged the prestigious 'Global Air Cargo Airline of the Year' (STAT Trade Times) in 2019 and was also runner-up for the 'Global Air Cargo Brand of the Year' and 'International Cargo Airline of the Year in Africa' awards. These awards recognize the carrier's continued drive and emphasis on innovation, customer centricity, and service excellence.
In 2019, Qatar's national carrier continued its enviable record of winning awards with a host of accolades during the year. Along with the 'World's Best Airline' prize for a record fifth time - it also won 'World's Best Business Class', 'Best Business Class Seat', and 'Best Airline in the Middle East' at the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax.
The annual Trip Advisor awards gave more cause for celebration with the airline picking up five more prizes, namely the 'World's Best Business Class' by Trip Advisor, 'Middle East Best Airline', 'Middle East Best Major', 'Middle East Best Business Class' and 'Middle East Best Economy Class'.
In scooping further accolades from the Travel Trade Gazette (TTG), Kayak, LinkedIn, APEX, AirlineRatings, Business Traveller, PAX and Onboard Hospitality, the airline could point to more than 70 international awards received during 2019.
Qatar Airways in cooperation with the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) promoted the nation during 2019. Events like Qatar Live where global superstars such as Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Maluma performed to thousands of fans, the Qatar International Food Festival and the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition are a vital part of the airline's work and a prelude to the next year where passengers will be given even more reasons to visit the country.
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