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GEORGETOWN: Award-winning airline, Qatar Airways, commenced its inaugural service to Penang Tuesday, its second destination in Malaysia, in continuation of its robust expansion throughout Southeast Asia.

Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner, flight QH850, touched down at the Penang International Airport at 2.30pm, along with its Qatar delegation, led by its chief commercial officer Ehab Amin.

“We are delighted to launch direct flights to Penang, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network.

“With a three-weekly flight between Doha and Penang, we are happy to be bringing visitors here to enjoy a beautiful experience in Penang,” he told a press conference in the evening.

Ehab said the addition of Penang to the airlines’ global network came as part of their continued expansion plans throughout Eastern Asia.

Also present were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.

Qatar Airways will increase the frequency to four times weekly effective July 1. Currently, the flights are on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The flight takes 12 hours and 30 minutes for each journey with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which has a sitting capacity of 254 seats.

Qatar Airway’s Kuala Lumpur service started back in 2001, and has since grown to a triple-daily direct non-stop service to and from Doha.