The African expansion drive is set to continue with scheduled services starting to the Rwandan capital Kigali on March 21. Zagreb will boost the airline’s European portfolio further with the launch of flights to the Croatian capital from May 9.
And beginning July 3, Qatar Airways adds Perth as its second route in Australia.
Ahead of the newly-announced launch dates, Qatar Airways is busy preparing for its 2012 route expansion programme which starts on February 1 with new services to the south eastern European cities of Baku and Tbilisi in Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively. Plans are also underway to begin flights to Zanzibar (Tanzania), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Mombasa (Kenya) and Helsinki (Finland).
At the height of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the airline unveils its second Australian route, to the Western city of Perth. Since launching flights to Australia in December 2009 with direct services to Melbourne, Qatar Airways has been considering additional capacity Down Under and is pleased to soon offer Perth.
Last year, Qatar Airways’ expansion focused on Europe with the introduction of seven new routes – Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice , Sofia and Oslo, taking its European capacity to 27 destinations.
The addition of Baku, Tbilisi and Zagreb is a significant move for the airline, probing underserved markets which have limited capacity. All three routes will provide excellent connections to diverse destinations across the airline’s rapidly-growing international network.
Kigali, rich in mining and a key African business centre, becomes the latest stop on Qatar Airways’ 16-strong city African network, which last year saw two destinations added on the Continent – Entebbe and Benghazi.
Operating via Entebbe, the daily Kigali flights provide excellent connections over Qatar Airways’ Doha hub to cities across the Middle East, Europe and Far East.
Flights to both Kigali and Zagreb will be operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy.
Following on from a highly successful launch of scheduled flights to Melbourne, Qatar Airways is venturing further into Australia with thrice-weekly non-stop services to Perth. The route will be upgraded to a daily service from December 1.
The Perth route will be operated with the long range version of the airline’s flagship Boeing 777 aircraft featuring 259 seats, configured in two-classes – 42 seats in Business Class that convert into fully horizontal flat beds, and 217 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline was expanding on different Continents as part of its aggressive growth strategy to open up new routes to key business and leisure destinations.
“We are delighted to be forging ahead with our expansion with today’s announcement of dates for three new routes on three Continents,” he said.
“These are exciting times for Qatar Airways as we begin our route expansion programme in just a few days’ time by inaugurating services to two European capital cities.
“In keeping with our highly focused and tailored growth strategy to enter underserved and thriving markets all over the world, the latest additions very much match our plans to open up a host of new destinations.”
Added Al Baker: “I am extremely confident that the wave of new route announcements for 2012 will bring much excitement to our passengers and partners in the new destinations, as well as across our global network.”
Qatar Airways now flies to 110 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of 104 aircraft. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.