Qatar to fly to Chiang Mai
Qatar Airways is on track to provide Chiang Mai a direct air link to the Middle East later this year.
The northern Thai city is on the Qatari flag carrier's global network expansion plan covering 15 new destinations in 2017-18.
It plans to debut Doha-Chiang Mai non-stop from Oct 31 with four flights a week on an Airbus 330 wide-body jet, Terrence Yu, Qatar manager for Thailand and Myanmar, told the Bangkok Post.
Chiang Mai will be the fourth Thai city served by one of the world's fastest-growing carriers as Thailand becomes more prominent in its network covering over 150 destinations on six continents.
Qatar commenced non-stop service from Doha to Krabi on Dec 6 last year, with four flights a week on Airbus 330-200s. It will become the first Middle Eastern airline to descend to Chiang Mai, whose airport mostly caters to domestic and regional flights.
Rival Emirates operates frequent non-stop services from its Dubai hub to Bangkok and Phuket, while Etihad only flies to Bangkok from Abu Dhabi.
Mr Yu said the new route will bring people from Qatar's global network directly to northern Thailand.
The airline constantly assesses opportunities to add more frequencies on its three existing Thai routes connected with Doha, he said. Qatar operates four flights a day to Bangkok with a combined fleet of Airbus 380 superjumbos and Boeing 777-300ERs, while its double-daily services to Phuket are on Boeing 777-300ERs.
New destinations to be added this year to Qatar's network include Canberra; Auckland; Dublin; Las Vegas; Rio de Janeiro; Santiago, Chile; Medan, Indonesia; Tabuk and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Skopje, Macedonia; Libreville, Gabon; Nice, France; and Douala, Cameroon.
The airline has 192 aircraft in its fleet with 302 on order.
Meanwhile, the airline unveiled new business-class suites to rival first-class suites of rival airlines. The QSuite features the industry's first double bed available in business class.