Qatar Airways’ first flight to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, touched down at Thessaloniki International Airport ‘Makedonia’ on Tuesday. The airline’s Airbus A320 was welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute followed by a welcome ceremony for VIP delegates.
The new four times-weekly service from Doha to the airline’s second gateway in Greece commenced just one month ahead of the launch of its third destination in Greece, the beautiful island of Mykonos. The VIP delegation on board the flight, led by Qatar Airways Group representative, Captain Jassim al-Haroon, vice president Operations Amiri Flight, included Greek ambassador Constantinos Orphanides. The delegation was welcomed by Qatar’s ambassador to Greece Abdulaziz Ali al-Naama, Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris and Fraport Greece Executive Director of Commercial and Business Development George Vilos.
“Qatar Airways’ new service to Thessaloniki will help reinforce links between Qatar and Greece, and deepen the friendship and co-operation between our two great countries,” Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said in a statement. “Our second gateway in Greece, Thessaloniki is a major tourist destination all year round offering access to some of Greece’s most famous resorts,” he noted. “We are delighted to support Greece’s tourism industry by providing more global travellers the opportunity to visit this iconic city.”
“The decision by our new airline partner, Qatar Airways, is a clear indication of the Thessaloniki ‘Makedonia’ Airport growth potential,” Fraport Greece CEO Alexander Zinell said. “Passengers from northern Greece and the Balkans can now benefit from direct flights linking Thessaloniki with the international hub of Doha and beyond,” he noted. “
Qatar Airways has been operating to Athens since June 2005, and in 2015 increased its service to the Greek capital from twice daily to three times daily to meet growing demand. The Athens route is operated by a mix of the airline’s state-of-the-art aircraft, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In January 2018, Qatar Airways was also the first airline to bring the Airbus A350 to the city. The first flights to Thessaloniki will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways’ robust growth strategy in Europe continues, with service to Mykonos commencing in May. The launch of these additional two gateways into Greece confirms the airline’s strong commitment to boosting tourism in Greece, especially from regions with strong Greek populations such as Australia and the Middle East.
With the launch of service to Mykonos, the award-winning airline will operate 58 times a week between the five-star Hamad International Airport and Greece. The new gateway will connect Thessaloniki to Qatar Airways’ global network, through its state-of-the-art hub in Doha, to more than 150 business and leisure destinations including Qatar, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times, QGN