An additional 31 flights each week will be operated by the Doha-based airline between the State of Qatar and Iran, representing a 150 percent increase in overall frequency.
The capacity rise to 52 services a week, up from the current 21, will be phased in over a four-month period, starting December 1.
The capital Tehran will be served with an additional daily flight; Iran’s second largest city of Mashhad is to get nine extra flights; Shiraz, the economic centre of southern Iran, will be given eight new flights; and, starting January 11 next year, services will begin to Isfahan in central Iran.
• SHIRAZ: 8 new flights – currently twice-weekly, rising to daily, effective December 1, and a further three flights introduced each week from March 2012.
• ISFAHAN: new route – daily flights from 11 January 2012.
• MASHHAD: 9 new flights – from the current five flights-a-week to 14 services (double daily), beginning March 2012.
• TEHRAN: 7 new flights – from the current 14 flights each week to 21 services (thrice-daily), beginning March 2012.
All flights will be operated by Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy.
Qatar Airways began flying to Iran in 2004 with the launch of services to Tehran. Flights to Mashhad started the following year, with Shiraz introduced to the network almost five months ago.
Isfahan, home to textile and steel mills and located on the country’s main north-south and east-west crossroads, is the heartbeat of central Iran’s economy. With fine historic Islamic architecture, palaces and tree-lined wide boulevards, the city is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the Middle East.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “Today’s announcement is an historic moment showing the strengthening of ties between our two countries.
“Almost five months ago, Qatar Airways introduced the Iranian city of Shiraz to our network. We have been working with the authorities in Iran for increased capacity across the country and delighted to have reached agreement to make today’s announcement.
“Additional flights will ultimately benefit passengers travelling to and from Iran and with our large international network of destinations, we facilitate travel with more ease, more flexibility and more choice, particularly for the large Iranian expatriate community around the world.
“Whether travelling to or from cities across our network such as London, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Delhi, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Montreal, New York, Buenos Aires, Dubai or Melbourne, we are able to provide convenient schedules via our Doha hub.”
So far this year, Qatar Airways has launched flights to 12 cities worldwide – Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Stuttgart (Germany), Aleppo (Syria), Shiraz (Iran), Venice (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Kolkata (India), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Oslo (Norway).
Three further routes are planned during November alone – to the Libyan port city of Benghazi from November 1; Ugandan city of Entebbe effective November 2; and the central Chinese city of Chongqing on November 28.
Recently named Airline of the Year 2011 by global industry audit Skytrax, Qatar Airways now flies to over 100 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of more than 100 aircraft. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.
Qatar Airways has orders worth over US$ 40 billion for more than 200 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s, A320 Family of aircraft and Bombardier corporate jets. The rapid expansion of Qatar Airways prompted the State of Qatar to embark on one of its biggest projects – the construction of a brand new international airport in Doha, which is scheduled to open in 2012.