MIAMI — Qatar Airways has announced that services to Langkawi, Malaysia will launch via Penang from October 15 this year on a four times per week basis.

A frequency upgrade will follow around 12 days after the route launch on the 27th to five times per week.

Commenting on the new route launch was the airline’s group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, who expressed excitement over this new destination.

“Langkawi is one of the most highly sought-after destinations in Malaysia and I am certain our flights will help increase accessibility and boost inbound tourism to this beautiful archipelago.”

“With five weekly flights to Langkawi, our service offers a gateway for passengers to travel and experience Langkawi’s magnificent offerings. We also aim to offer greater connectivity for passengers traveling from Malaysia to our extensive global network of over 160 destinations”, he added.

“Our new flights reflects our commitment to growing our presence not just in Malaysia, but in Asia as well”, Al Baker concluded.

The airline has selected the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to serve this new route. The plane is configured with the airline’s two-class cabin layout, offering 22 seats in Business Class as well as 232 seats in Economy.

Qatar 787 Ln 58 air to air

The timetable in the first 12 days of route operations will be different until the frequency upgrade is in effect. From Oct 15-27, the route will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Flight QR866 will depart Doha at 0225L, arriving initially into Penang at 1500L. The second leg will then depart at 1625L, arriving into Langkawi at 1705L.

The return, QR867, will depart Langkawi at 1900L, arriving into Penang at 1940L. The second leg will then depart at 2100L, arriving back into Doha for 2345L. The airline did note that this schedule was subject to vary.

From October 27 this year, the route will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when the fifth flight is added to the network.

The flight times with this do differ, however. Flight QR866 will depart Doha at 0210L instead of 0225L, arriving into Penang at 1420L. The second leg will depart at 1530L before arriving into Langkawi at 1620L.

Flight QR867 will then depart Langkawi at 1840L, arriving into Penang at 1940L. The second leg will then depart at 2035L, meaning an earlier arrival into Doha, being 2335L.

This is good news for Qatar Airways as it is enhancing growth in its network and is enhancing connectivity within Malaysia as a whole.

A new route launch such as Langkawi will contribute to the target the airline has, which is to hit 250 destinations in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be hosted in Doha.

As the sponsor of the tournament in 2022, it is in the carrier’s best interest to have as much connectivity as feasibly possible to boost tourism numbers as best as possible for the participating countries and also for other visitors who are interested in the sport.

This announcement was expected, especially with the airline unveiling photos of meeting with the Malaysian ministry, which hinted at new route launches.

The airline has had good ties with the country, as Al Baker explained in the press conference.

“Qatar Airways is committed to Malaysia. We launched flights to Kuala Lumpur in 2001, added services to Penang in 2018 and Langkawi will be our third gateway to this beautiful country,” he said.

Both countries have around 40 years worth of political relations, valued at an estimated $1.1bn. This new route launch will no doubt increase that number as cargo and passengers are transported through its gateways.

Looking ahead, it seems that the route announcements will continue to follow as Al Baker is entering the new decade with the continuation of rapid expansion, featuring new routes, fleet renewal, and growth, as well as having the determination to become even more of a significant global brand in the market.