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Sun 7 Mar 2010 09:44 AM

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Qatar Airways eyes 50% fleet growth by 2013

Aircraft numbers set to rise to 120 as carrier continues major expansion plan.

Qatar Airways said on Sunday it plans to grow its fleet of aircraft by 50 percent to 120 in the next three years while destinations are set to increase from 86 to 120 by 2013.

The expansion plans were announced as the carrier celebrated taking delivery of its latest aircraft which took its fleet size to 80 aircraft - double the size of five years ago.

The airline inducted its 15th Boeing 777 into the fleet which will serve long haul routes from the airline's operational hub of Doha.

The aircraft is part of a larger order for more than 220 different aircraft worth over $40bn placed in recent years.

"Yet again, Qatar Airways is demonstrating its continued commitment to growth," said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Addressing media in Hyderabad during India Aviation 2010, the country's second International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation, Al Baker said Qatar Airways was forging ahead with expansion at an unprecedented rate.

"Just five years ago, Qatar Airways operated 40 aircraft. Today our fleet has doubled in size to 80 aircraft. As our fleet increases, we are able to raise capacity on existing services and introduce new routes which is continuing as planned despite the industry facing challenges amid the current global economic climate," said Al Baker.

Last week, Qatar Airways announced its 2010 expansion programme with the launch of daily non-stop flights between Doha and Bengaluru (Bangalore), the capital of Karnataka.

Beginning March 30, scheduled flights are set to be introduced to the Danish capital of Copenhagen; April 5 sees the Turkish capital Ankara coming on line; April 26 is the launch date of daily flights to the Japanese capital, Tokyo; June 7 sees Barcelona added to the network.

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