Qatar Airways’ 2012 expansion programme is underway after the carrier launched scheduled daily flights to Tbilisi, Georgia via Baku, Azerbaijan on February 1, 2012.
Qatar Airways is gearing up for yet another year of massive expansion with the announcement of launch dates for new routes in Africa, Europe and Australia. 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.
After inaugurating seven new routes across Europe last year, the addition of two cities in South Eastern Europe further diversifies Qatar Airways’ portfolio on the continent. Destinations currently served across Europe include Ankara, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Venice, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Madrid. From Doha, the airline offers excellent onward connections to cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, including Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait, Entebbe, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Goa and Melbourne.
As part of its 2012 expansion programme, Qatar Airways will add other new routes including Mombasa (Kenya), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Helsinki (Finland), and Gassim (Saudi Arabia) to its network.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 104 aircraft to 112 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. Last year was a landmark 12 months for Qatar Airways, which inducted 15 new destinations to its network, and won the coveted Skytrax Airline of the Year Award.
Last year, the airline announced the purchase of 88 narrow- and wide-body aircraft from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The agreement is for 50 of Airbus’ new generation A320neo (new engine option) airplanes with a further 30 on option, together with five additional A380s super jumbos and three on option. The 50 A320neo itself are worth $6.4 billion at list price. The five new A380s will double the number of the airline’s super jumbos already in the delivery pipeline, taking firm orders up to 10 aircraft. Deliveries are due to begin in 2013.
The airline also announced its first dedicated airport lounge outside Doha with the opening of the new Premium Lounge at London Heathrow, reinforcing the importance of one of the airline’s busiest routes. Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said that the new lounge reflected the importance of extending the airline’s award-winning service beyond the signature Premium Terminal in Doha.
“The lounge is the latest development in our rapidly expanding global route network and we are eyeing opportunities to open further airport lounges in destinations where we operate more than two frequencies a day,” he added.
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