x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Qatar Airways will fly four times a week to Hangzhou, which is its seventh route in China.

Guests walk by the Qatar Airways B787-8 plane at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Guests walk by the Qatar Airways B787-8 plane at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

A third Arabian Gulf carrier has begun flying to the fast-growing city of Hangzhou, reflecting the region’s appetite for the Chinese market.

Qatar Airways began flying to Hangzhou last Friday. It will service the route four times a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The route is Qatar Airways’s seventh in China, joining Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong – and brings the total number of direct flights between Doha and China to 45 a week.

“As a route, Hangzhou has strong potential when linked with key destinations in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Africa; now all easily accessible via Doha through a convenient non-stop flight,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive.

“China’s outbound tourism has been growing rapidly in the past decade, and we look forward to bringing more passengers from and to Hangzhou, helping to further boost leisure and business travel in China.”

The World Bank ranks Hangzhou as one of the top cities for starting business in China. The upper middle income of its population makes it a prosperous city for conducting business.

Qatar Airways said that an Airbus A330 will fly to the new route with 24 business class seats and 236 economy class seats.

Qatar Airways announced last month that it was ordering 50 Boeing 777X aircraft, the new generation of the American aerospace maker’s 777 series, for US$19 billion.

The expansion of Arabian Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways is shaping the future of air travel to the region. The location of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi is another great advantage, with almost 80 per cent of the world’s population living within eight to 10 hours’ flying time from those cities.

selgazzar@thenational.ae