KAMPALA: Qatar Airways has further expanded operations in Africa with the introduction of its 16th destination on the continent – daily scheduled flights to Uganda.
Flight QR536 arrived at Entebbe International Airport, near Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, to an impressive water salute performed by the local fire service. The arrival was followed by an airport ceremony attended by local dignitaries, airport officials and media.
On board the maiden non-stop flight from the airline’s hub in Doha were Ugandan government representatives and international media led by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
Entebbe becomes the 16th destination in Qatar Airways’ African network. The latest route is also the carrier’s third East African point in a regional network that already covers the Kenyan and Tanzanian capitals of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, respectively.
Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa for its abundant wildlife, natural lush green scenery and rich culture. From eco tours, white-water rafting, hiking, safaris and the country’s most famous attraction – the elusive and treasured mountain gorilla – Uganda has plenty to offer for leisure visitors.
Kampala is also fast becoming a business hub, helped by the Ugandan government offering incentives to overseas investors.
Addressing guests at the airport ceremony on arrival in Entebbe, Al Baker said: “I would like to thank the Ugandan government and officials at Entebbe International Airport for the warm welcome and supporting our newest route launch.
“Passenger demand prompted this new route and I am excited that we are able to bring our award-winning Five Star service to Uganda for the first time.
“Since we announced plans to serve Uganda with daily passenger flights, this new route has been highly anticipated by the travel trade, business community and the travelling public. I would like to stress that we are here to stay, building strong relationships with our business partners for the long term. I am extremely confident Entebbe will be just as successful as our other destinations in Africa and this will further strengthen our position across the Continent where we now operate to 16 cities from Doha.”
Added Al Baker: “These are exciting times for Qatar Airways with 14 new route launches so far this year and there will be further expansion over the coming months that will include additional routes and capacity increases to many other destinations worldwide offering passengers from Uganda even more choice of travel options.”
The new daily services will give Ugandans the opportunity to explore diverse business and leisure destinations with a one-stop in Doha. These include London, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Delhi, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dubai and Melbourne.
The Doha – Entebbe route is served with an Airbus A320 featuring up to 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 seats in Economy. The aircraft offers seatback TV screens providing all passengers with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system featuring a choice of more than 700 audio and video on demand options.
Furthermore, the aircraft is equipped with a special OnAir service allowing passengers to use their mobile phones onboard for SMS, MMS messaging and emails.
The airline’s aggressive 2011 expansion programme has so far seen the launch of flights to – Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Stuttgart (Germany), Aleppo (Syria), Shiraz (Iran), Venice (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Kolkata (India), Sofia (Bulgaria), Oslo (Norway), Benghazi (Libya) and now, Entebbe in Uganda.
The Chinese city of Chongqing becomes Qatar Airways’ next new destination, being launched on November 28.
Qatar Airways now flies to over 100 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of more than 100 aircraft. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.
Starting yesterday, Doha-Entebbe flight schedules on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, are QR536 to Depart Doha at 0800 hrs and arrive Entebbe at 1330 hrs, QR537 to depart Entebbe at 1810 hrs and arrive Doha at 2315 hrs. During Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, QR538 will depart 0115 hrs and arrive Entebbe at 0645 hrs while QR539 will depart Entebbe at 1410 hrs and arrive Doha at 1915 hrs.