Qatar Airways sees media agencies in review of EMEA task

Qatar Airways is reviewing its media planning and buying business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The rapidly expanding airline has seen presentations from a number of media networks ahead of making an appointment.

It has used the London-based media independent Cream in the past for its UK media planning and buying, but agencies hope that it will increase its spend as it attempts to encourage visitors to Qatar's capital city, Doha.

The airline is in the process of launching new routes and now also offers passengers flights between locations such as Dubai and Manchester.

It has bolstered its range of services with flat beds in First Class and the launch of a loyalty club. It also offers package holidays.

The airline carried 3.3 million passengers in 2003 and expects to increase this to 4.5 million over the next year following the roll-out of more routes and planes.

The airline's search for a media agency follows a flurry of activity from other airlines in the Gulf region. Emirates added Strawberryfrog to its creative agency roster in February to develop a global TV campaign to promote its new Airbus model. Emirates is also holding a pitch for a UK creative agency and has shortlisted TBWA\London, Wieden & Kennedy, Leagas Delaney and Leith London.

Etihad, an airline based in Abu Dhabi, is also stepping up its advertising after appointing Media Planning Group to handle media planning and buying.

Qatar, a small country in the Arabian Gulf, borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. BLM Media was recently appointed by the Qatar Tourism Authority to handle UK media planning and buying for campaigns designed to boost the country as a holiday destination.