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.
|Launch Dates of New Routes|
|BAKU, Azerbaijan||February 1||Daily non-stop flights|
|TBILISI, Georgia||February 1||Daily (via Baku)|
|KIGALI, Rwanda||March 21||Daily (via Entebbe)|
|ZAGREB, Croatia||May 9||Daily (via Budapest)|
|PERTH, Australia||July 3||Three-flights-a-week|
|The DOHA – BAKU / TBILISI schedules, with effect from 1 February 2012 are:|
|Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays|
|Depart Doha||QR974 at 0830 hrs||arrive Baku at 1230 hrs|
|Depart Baku||QR974 at 1330 hrs||arrive Tbilisi at 1445 hrs|
|Depart Tbilisi||QR975 at 1545 hrs||arrive Baku 1700 hrs|
|Depart Baku||QR975 at 1800 hrs||arrive Doha at 1945 hrs|
|Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays|
|Depart Doha||QR976 at 1300 hrs||arrive Baku at 1700 hrs|
|Depart Baku||QR976 at 1800 hrs||arrive Tbilisi at 1915 hrs|
|Depart Tbilisi||QR977 at 2015 hrs||arrive Baku 2130 hrs|
|Depart Baku||QR975 at 2230 hrs||arrive Doha at 0015 hrs next day|
|The DOHA – KIGALI schedules, via Entebbe with effect from 21 March 2012 are:|
|Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays|
|Depart Doha||QR536 at 0800 hrs||arrive Kigali at 1420 hrs via Entebbe|
|Depart Kigali||QR537 at 1520 hrs||arrive Doha at 2335 hrs via Entebbe|
|Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays|
|Depart Doha||QR538 at 0115 hrs||arrive Kigali at 0735 hrs via Entebbe|
|Depart Kigali||QR539 at 1040 hrs||arrive Doha at 1855 hrs via Entebbe|
|The DOHA – ZAGREB schedules via Budapest, with effect from 9 May 2012 are:|
|Depart Doha||QR947 at 0740 hrs||arrive Zagreb at 1410 hrs via Budapest|
|Depart Zagreb||QR948 at 1510 hrs||arrive Doha at 2320 hrs via Budapest|
|The DOHA – PERTH schedules, with effect from 3 July 2012 are:|
|Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays|
|Depart Doha||QR900 at 0105 hrs||arrive Perth at 1710 hrs|
|Depart Perth||QR901 at 2300 hrs||arrive Doha at 0520 next day|
Qatar Airways has orders worth over US$ 50 billion for more than 250 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 later this year.