It’s an exciting spring for soccer fans who love traveling on Qatar Airways, an airline operating out of the Middle East and North Africa region, as it becomes the official partner and official airline of FIFA for the next five years.
It’s the first such sponsorship of its kind, and the announcement comes as Qatar Airways in poised to expand its flight offering to areas of Eastern Europe.
One part of this new status is the handling of soccer events in places like Russia and Qatar. The airline will put on events related to FIFA programs such as FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to press releases.
The plan also involves co-branding with partners like FC Barcelona and other sports initiatives and global activities from Formula One racing to tennis.
"Qatar Airways understands the power of sport in bringing people together in the spirit of friendly competition," Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a press statement. "FIFA, as the governing body of the world's most popular sporting tournament, the FIFA World Cup, embodies the power of football's popularity, and as such is a natural partner for Qatar Airways. We look forward to celebrating wins with the fans, being inspired by the artistry of the players, and to the excitement of each match over the next two FIFA competition cycles, until the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be proudly held in our home country, the State of Qatar."
Other Qatar Airways leaders told Balkan Business Wire in a statement that new flight options to the Balkans would include Croatia, Romania and more.
“Qatar Airways’ expansion is primarily consumer-driven – we fly to destinations to which our loyal passengers want and need to be connected," the statement said. "As such, Qatar Airways serves several destinations in the Balkan region, including Zagreb, Bucharest, Sofia and more.”
Representatives said that adding the Macedonian capital of Skopje and other local destinations will help the airline serve its customers better.
“Our new service to Skopje, commencing in July, is just another example of Qatar Airways’ commitment to the region and the growing importance of the Balkans to international travelers for both business and leisure activities,” Qatar Airways spokespeople said.