GEORGE TOWN: Multiple economic benefits are expected to be derived from both Qatar and Penang with the start of direct flights between Doha and Penang.
In a joint press conference, both Qatar Airways’ chief commercial officer Ehab Amin and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng set the framework for greater synergy between the two destinations.
Ehab also hoped the cargo division of the airways can operate from the Penang International Airport.
Currently, the commercial side of Qatar Air flies three times a week from Doha to Penang aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
They were speaking in conjunction with the inaugural flight which touched down around 2pm on Tuesday in Penang.
Ehab also spoke about promoting tourism jointly between Doha and Penang and leveraging off the strengths of both destinations.
Doha’s Hamad International Airport is renowned as one of then top aviation hubs in the world with connection to over 150 destinations worldwide in six continents.
Penang meanwhile has a reputation as the Silicon Valley of the East as well as a top three tourism destination in Malaysia, and the hub for the northern region.
Lim said Penang was looking to export products from its growing halal park to Qatar.
The direct flight is expected to galvanise Penang as Doha is the first destination in the Middle East to be directly connected to the state.
Among those present at the event were Qatari Ambassador to Malaysia Essa Mohamed Al-Mannai, the Malaysian Ambassador to Qatar Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, Malaysia Airports Berhad managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali and Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan.
Response has been good where Qatar intends to now fly four times a week towards the later part of this year.
The award-winning airline has received a number of accolades recently, including ‘Airline of the Year’ by the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards, held at the Paris Air Show.
Its flight schedule is on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday where the flight no QR850 takes off from Doha (DOH) to Penang (PEN), arriving 2.30pm and from Penang to Doha QR851, it flies off at 830pm.