Services to the previously announced destination of Belgrade, capital of Serbia, have been confirmed for a November 20 start with a thrice-weekly schedule via Ankara.
Two weeks later, beginning December 5, the airline will add the Polish capital Warsaw to its rapidly-growing European network operating flights four-times-a-week.
News of the expansion follows this week’s announcement by Qatar Airways that it will begin daily flights to Chicago – the carrier’s fourth USA gateway – from April 10 next year.
Both the Belgrade and Warsaw routes will be operated from Qatar Airways’ Doha hub with an Airbus A320 configured in two classes – 12 seats in Business and 132 in Economy. Each seat features an interactive audio and video entertainment system offering hundreds of movies, TV programmes and music channels.
Following route launches to European capital cities in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Croatia this year, together with seven destinations on the Continent during 2011, Qatar Airways has given much attention to an expansion drive across Europe with a particular focus on eastern Europe.
Warsaw is one of Europe’s oldest cities – Poland’s largest city and economic, political and cultural centre. Rich in culture, home to historic palaces and modern architecture, many companies have turned their attention to setting up base in Warsaw due to the huge investment benefits offered by the Polish government.
Warsaw was also one of the cities that hosted the UEFA Euro 2012 football championships held in Poland and Ukraine this summer.
Belgrade, among the largest cities in south eastern Europe, has a long tradition of culture, sport, history and architecture making it a desirable city to visit on the Continent. Belgrade has little exposure to long-haul markets due to lack of air capacity.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the addition of Poland and Serbia demonstrated the airline’s commitment to launch destinations that are largely underserved.
“Today we are flying to many parts of the world with a global network spanning 118 destinations with almost 25 per cent of our route structure in Europe alone,” he said.
“Over the past two to three years we have identified great opportunities to probe markets across Europe that are largely underserved by full service international airlines. We are delighted to have subsequently started services to some of these destinations and are extremely pleased by their performance so far.
“I am sure both Belgrade and Warsaw will prove to be just as successful as our other route start-ups providing travellers from both these cities and surrounding areas with great travel options to fly to Doha and conveniently onwards with Qatar Airways to cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
“We look forward to extend our Five Star service to both our new markets and open up more exciting travel opportunities for people from around the world,” added Al Baker.
The portfolio of attractive destinations served by Qatar Airways for Serbians and Poles include Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Goa, Dubai, Melbourne, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Similarly, travellers from across Qatar Airways’ network will have two additional European capitals to explore, previously accessible only via major gateways on the Continent.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently operating a modern fleet of 110 aircraft to 118 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad, Perth (Australia) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania).
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Yangon, Myanmar (October 3); Maputo, Mozambique (October 31); and Chicago, USA (10 April 2013).
|DOHA – BELGRADE flight schedules, effective 20 November 2012: 3-times-a-week|
|Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday|
|QR462||Depart Doha at 0830 hrs||arrive Belgrade at 1350 hrs|
|QR463||Depart Belgrade at 1505 hrs||arrive Doha at 2345 hrs|
|DOHA – WARSAW flight schedules, effective 5 December 2012: 4-times-a-week|
|Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday|
|QR980||Depart Doha at 0920 hrs||arrive Warsaw at 1320 hrs|
|QR981||Depart Warsaw at 1535 hrs||arrive Doha at 2255 hrs|
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry.