Qatar Airways announces network expansion

The Gulf carrier will be able to hold claim to the world’s longest commercial flight, as well as beginning new services in Europe, Africa and South West Pacific / Southeast Asia

Qatar Airways will be significantly expanding their network this year, having added 14 new destinations across the globe. His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker announced the new routes at ITB Berlin – the world’s largest international travel fair.

The carrier has already launched three new services since the start of the calendar year, with five more launching between 16 March and 1 June. Qatar launched a service to Los Angeles on 1 January, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates on 2 February and Sydney, Australia on 1 March. Boston; Birmingham, UK; Adelaide, Australia; Yerevan, Armenia and Atlanta routes will commence in the coming weeks.

Five of the 14 new destinations that the Gulf carrier will now serve will be in Europe. Starting on 2 August, a fourth Italian destination will be served with the addition of Pisa to the network – made up of Rome, Milan and Venice. The A320-family non-stop service will run daily from Doha. 

The A320 family will serve Sarajevo, Bosnia on the three times weekly service, starting 7 September. The aircraft will also serve new routes to Helsinki, Finland and Skopje, Macedonia – services will begin on 10 October and November respectively. Nice, France will be reached five times a week with a wide-body aircraft by summer 2017 

Qatar’s expansion will branch out into the African continent, where the likes of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Asmala, Eritrea and Entebe, Uganda are already being served. Marrakech, Morocco three time weekly service will commence in July, on Boeing 787 Dreamliner. From 12 December, a daily scheduled service to Seychelles will resume, and three flights a week from Doha to Douala, Cameroon and Libreville, Gabon will run in January. By summer 2017, Qatar will offer a three times weekly service from their hub to Lusaka, Zambia.

As part of their winter schedule, the airline will increase their presence in Thailand with a four times weekly service to Krabi from 6 December, and three flights a week to Chiang Mai. Connectivity will be enhanced through the new Thai destinations as Qatar already serves Bangkok and Phuket.

Of the vast network expansion, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways prides itself on being a global connector, and most importantly, providing seamless and convenient connections for our customers, so that we remain their airline of choice. These new destinations are where our customers want to go, and where we see the most opportunity to provide a best-in-class experience at great value. We look forward to growing our network

The most interesting announcement of the new routes is the service from Doha to Auckland which, when launched, will become the world’s longest commercial flight. The flight will cover 14, 539 km with an estimated flight time of around 18 hours and 34 minutes. This will edge out Emirates’ Dubai – Auckland service, the current holder of the title of world’s longest flight, which covers 14,200 km with an average flight time of 17 hours 15 minutes.

2016 is set to be another record breaking year for Auckland. Auckland Airport won the prestigious Routes Asia Marketing Award at the Routes Asia event in Manila, Philippines this month. Figures for January 2016 are incredibly positive, reporting the highest ever number of international passengers for a single month. 893,314 passengers were welcomed at the airport, an increase of 43,000 passengers, and 9.3 percent growth compared to January 2015.

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