Qatar Airways launches flights to Najaf

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The Im?m ‘Al? Holy Shrine), also known as Masjid Ali or the Mosque of ‘Al?, located in Najaf, is the third holiest site for some of the estimated 200 million followers of the Shia branch of Islam. Photo-James Gordon

Qatar airways has extended its network to the central city of Najaf, making it the third city in the country following both the capital Baghdad and Ebril.

Increasing passenger demand to Iraq along with the country’s reconstruction drive, expansion plans seemed vital for the Doha based carrier.

The arrival of Qatar Airways’ flight QR 742 at Al Najaf International Airport was welcomed by a traditional water salute followed by a reception presided by local officials. Fathi Al Shehab, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President GCC, Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent, led an official delegation on the flight from the airline’s head office in the Qatari capital Doha.

With the addition of Najaf to its its route network, frequency of flights have increased from 8 to 12 services a week.

Home to the holy Imam Ali mosque, Najaf receives millions of pilgrims annually, who travel to visit one of the most revered holy Islamic sites.

The airline currently has more than 100 destinations on its network spanning across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. Najaf will be destination number 124.

“With our new Najaf services, we are giving the people of Iraq more choice and greater travel options to fly around the world after years of restricted access to air services. Similarly, with all the reconstruction efforts well underway in Iraq, there is a need for flights to bring in construction workers.” quoted Akbar Al Baker,Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways.

Al Baker said, “As an air service provider, we at Qatar Airways have the faith and are doing our bit in the rebuilding efforts of the country.”

“Najaf represents a significant part of Qatar Airways’ growth strategy of opening new, diverse routes connecting people in underserved markets to destinations around the world with more ease and convenience than ever before,” he added.

Addressing guests gathered at Al Najaf International Airport, Fathi Al Shehab said, “Today is all about celebration and further developing our warm relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Iraq.”

He said, “On behalf of Qatar Airways, I would like to thank the government of Iraq, the local authorities and airport officials for supporting Qatar Airways’ expansion with the addition of an integral route to our international network that will offer great connections to the people of Najaf and the surrounding areas to such an exciting array of destinations globally such as London, Singapore, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai and Melbourne.”

“Qatar Airways looks forward to welcoming our newest passengers to experience our award-winning world class service and fine hospitality,” he added.

The Najaf route will be operated with an Airbus A320 with 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy. Also on board , will be seatback TVs, featuring a choice of more than 800 audio video on-demand options providing passengers with the latest in interactive entertainmnet besides an SMS text messaging service from each seat.

The convenient timings of the Doha – Najaf  flights will be an added advantage allowing good connections to other major destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines will be further launching new routes including Phnom Penh, Cambodia (February 20); Chengdu, China (March 19); Chicago, USA (April 10); and Salalah, Oman (May 22) providing a wealth of new leisure and business options for travellers.

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