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Phuket will be hoping that the new hub in Doha opens a fresh market

Phuket Gains Daily Five-Star Flights from Qatar

Monday, June 21, 2010
DAILY flights to Phuket from the wealthy city of Doha in the Middle East are coming from October 11 via Qatar Airways, one of the world's top airlines.

The new flights, which will operate via Kuala Lumpur, are an encouraging sign that ''brand Phuket'' has a five-star future.

The new Phuket route via Malaysia also emphasises the growing importance of the increasing supply of quality halal food on the island and its Muslim culture.

Qatar, with the second highest GDP per capita in the world, is a five-star country with a five-star airline. Little wonder that the just-concluded World of Halal Science Industry and Business - Phuket International Conference was held at the five-star JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa in Mai Khao.

While the Q section of the airline alphabet was once exclusively the domain of the Australian airline Qantas, Qatar has come a long way quickly and its arrival gives one of the world's top three airlines a serious presence on Phuket.

In May, Qatar Airways was named the No. 3 best airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2010, up from fourth spot last year and ahead of 197 other marques.

The arrival of Qatar Airways on Phuket is part of the fast-growing airline's plan to launch six new routes in Europe and Asia, says the Moodie Report online.

With the oil and gas-rich absolute monarchy including Phuket on its global airline map, the likelihood is that the Middle East influence will become more pronounced on Phuket. The island's classiest five-star resorts will be looking west to India and beyond more and more.

Only Malaysia's budget pioneer AirAsia appears to be matching Qatar's ambitious plans. After adding daily flights to KL and Phuket, the airlines has extras to come.

From November 1 Qatar Airways will add Hanoi to its global network, with four flights a week via Bangkok. The new route will support existing services to Ho Chi Minh City, where flights will also be stepped up from four-a-week to daily, says the Moodie Report.

Services to France, Belgium, Italy and Eastern Europe are also to be increased.

Announcing the expansion at the airline's annual commercial conference in Doha, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: ''Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Nice, Hanoi and Phuket represent markets underserved so these are excellent opportunities for us to tap into.''

He added that the airline's fleet size will increase sharply over the next few years and ''all of us within Qatar Airways rise to the challenge by continuing to give our customers the five-star level of service they fully deserve.''

By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with120 aircraft. Today, the fleet stands at 84 aircraft, flying to 90 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North America, says the Moodie Report.

The airline also claimed a 2010 Skytrax award for having the best overall business class. The airline's business class catering was recognised separately as the best in the world.

Qatar's fleet is also among world's youngest, with an average age of less than five years.

Comments

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Good for Phuket with new business..
However, scary reading over the increasing demand of "muslim" food. Sad to see Islam getting a stronger grip over the land of smiles..Might be a good reason to not visit in the future!

Editor: Swede, you are talking nonsense. About one third of Phuket's population is Muslim, and for decades they have lived in peace and harmony with the island's Buddhists. Quake in your boots if you like, hide under your bed if you like, shake in the snow if you like, the rest of us will continue to enjoy the real Phuket.

Posted by Swede on June 21, 2010 19:49

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While corruption in Islamic countries is astronomical and Qatar is an absolute monarchy, the Islam in Phuket has always been peace loving...

This is great news for high class businesses in Phuket. Now there is budget air asia and five-star qatar...

Posted by J on June 21, 2010 21:24

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I think Swede has it all wrong, it's not more people becoming Muslim but more Muslim visitors. It is sad that people automatically think muslim = bad, especially when you think of all the bad things ALL the religions have been involved in over time.

Posted by Benjie on June 21, 2010 23:51

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My dear friend,
Swede is like many europeans... Europe hate muslims since the first crusades 1000 years before. I'm muslim, i was born and live in France and i feel better in a country with 55 million buddhists like Thailand :-)

Posted by morad on January 2, 2012 08:29


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