Qatar Airways has officially opened its new Premium Lounge for first and business class passengers at London's Heathrow Airport, in front of VIP guests drawn from the diplomatic world, travel industry, corporate business leaders and the British media.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker (left), with VIPs at London Heathrow for the official opening of the airline's new airport lounge. Among the guests were The State of Qatar's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency, Khalid bin Rashid bin Salim Al-Hamoudi Al-Mansouri, pictured centre, and BAA Chief Operating Officer Normand Boivin.
Located airside at Terminal 4, the lounge is Qatar Airways' first dedicated facility for premium passengers outside its Doha hub, where the carrier operates the award-winning Premium Terminal.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker officially opened the lounge in front of over 50 invited guests, before giving them a tour of the facility.
The event marked the start of another busy year for the carrier, with the launch of new routes, as well as additional capacity on the London Heathrow – Doha route, being stepped up from four to five flights a day, effective 25 March.
The lounge reinforces the importance of the UK as one of the airline's busiest routes.
Guests at the opening discovered a lounge designed to resemble a boutique hotel or private member's club, rather than a conventional airport facility for an airline. They experienced the ultimate in luxury and five-star service, which reflects the airline's drive to excel in all areas of operations.
Shaking hands to a new partnership celebrating the opening of Qatar Airways' new airport lounge at London Heathrow are the airline's CEO Akbar Al Baker, left, and the Chief Operating Officer of airport operator BAA, Normand Boivin.
Qatar Airways recruited lounge staff from five-star hotels and restaurants to work in the theatre-style Global Brasserie kitchen, innovative Delicatessen, and elegant Signature Martini bar that are key features of the new Heathrow lounge, which can accommodate over 90 passengers.
The lounge also includes private shower facilities, with heated floors and mirrors, hotel-style towels and luxury branded toiletries and amenities.
Business and leisure travellers can stay connected with free WiFi throughout the lounge, discreet power sockets at every seat and a business centre that includes PCs and printers.
Following a landmark year in 2011, which saw Qatar Airways introduce 15 new destinations to its network and win the coveted Skytrax Airline of the Year Award, the airline's new Heathrow lounge is set to become the benchmark for international airport lounges.
Media are among VIP guests drawn from the diplomatic world, corporate businesses and travel trade at the opening of Qatar Airways' new Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 4.
Speaking at the official opening, The State of Qatar's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency, Khalid bin Rashid bin Salim Al-Hamoudi Al-Mansouri, congratulated Al Baker, stating: “Qatar Airways has been continuously setting the standards in the aviation field across the globe for over a decade. This new lounge raises the bar yet again and reflects all that is best in Qatari standards, hospitality and luxury.”
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the new lounge reflected the importance of extending the airline's award-winning service beyond the signature Premium Terminal in Doha.
“London has long been one of our best-performing routes, so Heathrow was an obvious choice for our first Premium Lounge outside Doha,” he told guests.
“With frequency on our highly popular Heathrow route soon rising to five flights a day, it was vitally important that we provided a dedicated facility for our loyal customers travelling in our premium cabins to enjoy the comforts of an airport facility before departure.
“The international spotlight will firmly be on the British capital this summer, with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place, so we look forward to the increase in capacity and welcome more premium travellers on our high-demand services to and from London.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker addresses media gathered for a briefing at London Heathrow during the launch activities of the airline's new Premium Lounge.
“The lounge is the latest development in our rapidly expanding global route network and we are eyeing opportunities to open further airport lounges in destinations where we operate more than two frequencies a day.”
During 2012, Qatar Airways will launch flights to nine new destinations: Baku (Azerbaijan) on 1 February; Tbilisi (Georgia) on 1 February; Kigali (Rwanda) on 21 March; Zagreb (Croatia) on 9 May; Perth (Australia) on 3 July; with dates yet to be announced to Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Mombasa (Kenya) and Zanzibar (Tanzania).
Premium Lounge video footage
To view a video of the new Premium Lounge at London Heathrow during its official opening ceremony, please click on the following link.