Qatar Airways has announced that three more cities will join its global network during the second half of 2011. India, Norway and Bulgaria have been earmarked for new route development as the airline targets both popular and underserved markets in Europe, Middle East, North America and Asia, from its Doha hub.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker unveiled the latest expansion details at a press conference on the opening day of ITB Berlin.
Daily flights to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata will be launched on 27 July, taking Qatar Airways’ capacity in India to 95 services a week across 12 cities.
In Europe, where much of Qatar Airways’ recent expansion has been focused, the airline is to launch four-flights-a-week to the Bulgarian capital Sofia from 14 September. Finally from 5 October, Qatar Airways will start a five-flights-a-week service to Norway’s capital city, Oslo. The airline already operates scheduled services to the Swedish capital Stockholm and Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen.
Speaking at a press conference at ITB Berlin, Al Baker said the airline’s growth remained on target. “Yet again, we are demonstrating our strategic focus to serve key business and leisure cities around the world, as well as underserved markets with new direct flights and increased capacity,” Al Baker said.
“Today’s announcement of new services to Kolkata, Oslo and Sofia reflects our commitment to connect diverse global cities via our Doha hub. Kolkata becomes our 12th gateway city in India, while Sofia is another example of serving underserved markets. And with Oslo set to be part of our network, Qatar Airways will strengthen its presence in Scandinavia as the biggest Gulf-based airline flying to the region.
“As we take delivery of more aircraft, we will quickly induct them into service and constantly look at new opportunities to give the travelling public more travel options, more choice and more flexibility.”
Since January 2010, Qatar Airways has taken delivery of 22 new planes – a mix of wide-body Boeing 777s, narrow-body Airbus A320s and Bombardier business jets. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 120 aircraft. Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 94 aircraft.