Marwan Koleilat, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific at Qatar Airways, speaks at a press conference on Jan 14 in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Qatar Airways said it would move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport this summer, and is actively expanding flights to more Chinese cities, fueled by strong travel demand.
Starting January, the national carrier of Qatar started codeshare cooperation with China Southern Airlines on flights between Guangzhou and Doha, as well as Beijing and Doha.
In December 2018, Qatar Airways acquired a 5 percent stake of Guangzhou-based State-owned China Southern. Qatar Airways said it hopes to have deeper cooperation with China Southern, which will gradually move all of its flights to Daxing airport.
Currently, Qatar Airways operates 45 weekly flights from its capital Doha to seven cities in China — its third-largest market behind India and the United States. The cities are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.
Among passengers who fly to Doha, 90 percent will transfer then fly to their final destinations. The number of transfer passengers from China has been growing fast, the carrier said.
Qatar Airways also signed a new MoU with China Youth Development Foundation on Tuesday. It will donate another 500,000 yuan to improve the facility and learning environment of the Qatar Airways Hope School in Guangyuan, Sichuan province, which was built in 2010 after the devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake in 2008.
Qatar Airways was the first foreign carrier to build a hope school in Sichuan in the aftermath of the earthquake that destroyed over 7,000 schools. It is also the first and only Middle Eastern carrier to have participated in Project Hope, one of the most influential philanthropic programs in China.
"Just as we remain committed to the Chinese market, we remain committed to creating opportunities for children in rural China to reach for the skies," said Marwan Koleilat, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific at Qatar Airways.