Expanding Gulf carrier Qatar Airways is to increase capacity on its Doha – Warsaw less than two months after it launch flights to Poland’s capital city. The airline inaugurated flights on the route in December 2012 on a four times weekly basis, but has now confirmed that from February 1, 2013 this will be increased to a daily schedule. The frequency rise follows a pledge by Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker late last year to introduce more flights once there was strong passenger demand.
“I have been pleasantly surprised how well the route has performed since adding the latest European gateway to our ever-expanding global network last month,” he said. “When we enter new markets, we do so carefully with limited capacity and then develop routes with more capacity once we see evidence that additional flights are warranted. This development is welcome news for the people of Poland with more choice of flights and a great international network to choose from, specifically to Asia, Australia and the Middle East.”
Similarly, Al Baker explained that passengers from around the world will have more connectivity into Poland each day of the week. “Serving popular routes with multi-frequency flights is one of our key strategies. We were confident that the Doha – Warsaw service would become a highly popular route, but didn’t expect this to happen so soon,” he added.
Qatar Airways utilises an Airbus A320 on the Warsaw route featuring 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 in Business Class and 132 in Economy. The Eastern European city is the airline’s 32nd destination in Europe and its inauguration on December 5, 2012 marked the introduction of the 12th and final new route of the year to the carrier’s expanding global route map covering Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
The Qatar Airways network growth will come just days before Emirates Airline makes its debut in the Polish market with a daily operation between Dubai and Warsaw. Unlike Qatar Airways, Emirates will obviously be using widebodied equipment in the form of a 237-seat Airbus A330-200. This will significantly increase capacity between Warsaw and the Middle East, further boost connection opportunities from the Polish market but also mark the introduction of a First Class offering.
“Warsaw will be the first new route for Emirates in 2013 and our preparations for launch are currently in full swing,” said Richard Jewsbury, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Europe and Russian Federation, Emirates Airline. “With less than a month to go we are ramping up our activities on the ground in Warsaw and around our global network, in order to increase tourism flows in both directions.”
In addition to passenger services Emirates SkyCargo will offer 238 tonnes of belly-hold capacity per week, further enhancing trade opportunities for Poland across the Emirates network. Key exports from Poland include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and electronic products, while some of the main imports are machinery, sporting goods, medical equipment, electrical equipment and leather products.
“Poland continues to see significant economic growth and our new flights, connecting Poland with our destinations in the Far East, Africa, Middle East and Australasia, will play a pivotal role in further boosting the city’s projected fiscal growth,” added Jewsbury.
The expansion of Qatar Airways and arrival of Emirates Airline in Warsaw comes as the city’s largest gateway, Chopin Airport has adjusted its charges, introducing new discounts for airlines operating from the facility and placing it as one of the most competitive airports in Central Europe. The new charges, approved by the President of the Civil Aviation Office, came into effect on 15 December 15, 2012. The basic rates remain unchanged since 2009, but a number of new discounts have been put in place, aimed at encouraging carriers to launch new services from Warsaw and increase frequencies on existing routes.
The most notable changes include: an increase in the landing charge discount for a new European route in the first two years of operation from 75 per cent to 85 per cent in the first and from 50 per cent to 75 per cent in the second year; a discount for all transfer passengers of 25 per cent in 2013 and 50 per cent in 2014 and 2015; an increase in the flight frequency discount from 25 per cent to 40 per cent; introduction of a 25 per cent landing charge discount for increase of all cargo operations and the introduction of a landing charge discount for launching a new non-European all cargo route amounting to 50 per cent in the first two years and 25 per cent in the third year of operation.
The existing discount of up to 99 per cent on the landing charge for new non-European routes; the 15 per cent passenger charge discount for domestic flights and the 50 per cent landing charge discount for large aircraft for each tonne over 100 tonnes of the aircraft MTOM, all remain in place. However, securing the aircraft refuelling process is now considered an extra service, and is charged at PLN 179 per operation, while a charge for additional guarding of an aircraft amounting to PLN 200 per guard for each hour the aircraft is guarded has also been added.
“We understand the difficult situation on the aviation market and make constant efforts to meet airlines expectations, for the last four years we have been systematically lowering airport charges by extending the discount system. We receive feedback from carriers indicating that such policy is most welcome. Our airline-friendly approach resulted in new long-haul services launched by Middle East carriers,” said Piotr Nalej, Commercial Bureau Director, Warsaw Chopin Airport.
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