Qatar Airways is actively exploring further growth opportunities in the Far East following the successful launch of flights to Tokyo, its newest Asian destination, according to the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

Qatar Airways’ new direct daily services between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and the Qatari capital of Doha, launched in April ahead of Japan’s annual Golden Week holiday, has become one of the company’s top performing routes within its first two months of operation.

Last week, the airline announced new routes from Doha to Phuket in Thailand and Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, to begin in October and November 2010 respectively, clearly signalling the airline’s commitment to the Asian market.

In addition, the airline is stepping up frequency between Doha and Bangkok from double daily flights to three services a day from the end of October. With Tokyo, Qatar Airways’ Far East and South East Asian route network currently stands at 15 destinations, representing almost 20 per cent of the carrier’s global coverage.

“Qatar Airways is seeing strong demand for air travel from the entire Asian region and is planning to open up a number of new routes in this vibrant region,” said Al Baker, speaking at a press conference in the Japanese capital yesterday to mark the official launch of flights to Tokyo.

“The Asian market as a whole is one of our biggest in terms of revenue generation, and Japan is very much part of our success story in Asia. Having entered the Japanese market with flights to Osaka five years ago, and now Tokyo, we are very pleased with the response from the Japanese public for our latest route here.

“Qatar is also an important destination with over 1,000 Japanese expatriates living in Doha and over 30 leading Japanese companies engaged in business from across the utility, energy and heavy industry sectors.”

Qatar Airways has boosted its route network this year with the addition of seven new routes – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo, Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

“By early next year, Qatar Airways will be operating to 98 destinations, a figure we expect to easily top 100 during 2011, which indeed is a remarkable feat for an airline which is only 13 years old,” said Al Baker. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 84 aircraft, flying to 92 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and North & South America.