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Wed 25 Feb 2009 07:52 AM

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Qatar Airways chief upbeat on expansion plans

Carrier's CEO says global economic crisis will not halt growth of fleet, destinations.

Qatar Airways has pledged to continue its ambitious expansion plans despite the global slowdown, its chief executive Akbar al-Baker has said.

He said the carrier would keep adding more aircraft and new destinations and the economic crisis would not alter the company's plans.

“We will continue to expand in terms of fleet size and network. The global economic downturn will not alter our plans,” al-Baker said in comments published by Gulf Times on Wenesday.

He told the paper that the airline, which currently has 67 aircraft,  would receive on average one new aircraft every month over the next few years.

In November 2007, Qatar Airways placed orders for up to 32 Boeing 777 passenger and cargo aircraft, comprising 14 of the 777-300ER variant, six 777-200LRs and seven 777-200 freighters.

With seven Boeing 777s currently flying in Qatar Airways’ colours, the remaining 25 will be delivered within two years, he added.

He was commenting after taking delivery of the carrier's second Boeing 777-200LR which would be officially named Gaza in solidarity with civilian victims in the recent conflict in the Palestinian territory.

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