Mumbai, India (PressExposure) March 16, 2011 -- Mumbai - Qatar Airways today announced three cities will join its rapidly growing global network during the second half of 2011, part of a continued expansion strategy focused on new routes and capacity increases.
In India, daily flights to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, will be launched on July 27 taking Qatar Airways' capacity in India to 95 services a week spread across 12 cities.
In addition to that Norway and Bulgaria have been earmarked for new route development as the airline spelled out its ongoing commitment to international growth, targeting 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 said the airline's growth remained on target with relentless expansion. "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," he explained.
"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."
In Europe, where much of Qatar Airways' recent expansion has been the focus, the airline is to launch four-flights-a-week to the Bulgarian capital Sofia from September 14. In January, the carrier began services to the Romanian capital Bucharest, Hungarian capital Budapest and Belgium's capital city of Brussels.
Beginning October 5, Qatar Airways builds on its successful operations in Scandinavia with the start of five-flights-a-week to Norway's capital city of Oslo. The airline already operates scheduled services to the Swedish capital Stockholm and Denmark's capital city of Copenhagen.
Together with a raft of capacity increases that see the Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and Dar Es Salaam routes go double daily, Geneva, Seychelles and Copenhagen will be upgraded to daily operations.
This week, Qatar Airways embarked on the latest phase of its 2011 expansion drive launching three-flights-a-week to Stuttgart - its fourth German gateway and 99th international destination. Europe now accounts for 25 destinations in the carrier's global network.
With frequency on the Munich route increasing from daily to 11 flights a week, effective today, (March 9) and the Frankfurt route upgraded from 10 to 13 flights each week, beginning March 27, Qatar Airways faces its biggest ever capacity rise in Germany in a short timeframe - from 24 to 34 flights a week. The Doha - Berlin route remains a daily operation.
April 6 marks a key moment for Qatar Airways with the launch of non-stop flights from Doha to the historic Syrian city of Aleppo - the airline's milestone 100th destination.
With three recently-announced routes to start in June alone - Iranian city of Shiraz (June 5), Italy's Adriatic coastline city of Venice (June 15) and Montreal (June 29) being its first move into Canada, Qatar Airways is preparing for a busy summer ahead.
Qatar Airways' 2011 expansion highlights are:
STUTTGART, March 6: 3-flights-a-week take the airline's German network to four routes
ALEPPO, April 6: 4-flights-a-week, airline's 100th destination
SHIRAZ, June 5: Twice-weekly flights - carrier's third destination in Iran
VENICE, June 15: Daily flights take Italian network up to three cities
MONTREAL, June 29: Airline's debut in Canada with introduction of thrice-weekly flights
KOLKATA, July 27: Daily flights take airline's Indian network up to 12 destinations
SOFIA, September 14: 4-flights-a-week strengthen Eastern European presence
OSLO, October 5: 5-flights-a-week - airline's third Scandinavian route
BENGALURU, March 1: replacing narrow-body aircraft with wide-body Airbus A330
MUNICH, March 9: 7 to 11 flights a week
FRANKFURT, March 27: 10 to 13 flights a week; introducing Boeing 777 on some flights
BARCELONA, March 27: replacing narrow-body aircraft with wide-body Airbus A330
KUALA LUMPUR, March 27: 11 to 14 flights a week (double daily), phased from March to Oct
DAR ES SALAAM, March 27: 12 to 14 flights a week (double daily)
MUSCAT, March 27: 21 to 24 flights a week
KARACHI, March 27: replacing narrow-body aircraft with wide-body Airbus A330
PARIS, March 29: 14 to 16 flights a week (16th flight introduced in October)
COPENHAGEN, March 31: 6 to 7 flights a week (daily)
SINGAPORE, May 1: 7 to 14 flights a week (double daily), phased in from May to Nov
GENEVA, May 3: 5 to 7 flights a week (daily)
MANCHESTER, June 1: 7 to 14 flights a week (double daily)
SEYCHELLES, June 2: 4 to 7 flights a week (daily)
Added Al Baker: "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 A320 Family aircraft and Bombardier business jets, the latter for the airline's corporate jet division, Qatar Executive.
The airline's Doha hub feeds passenger and cargo traffic to all parts of the world, offering convenient connections across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of over 120 aircraft. Today, the airline's fleet stands at 94 aircraft.
-ends- Notes to Editors:
Qatar Airways has been voted third best airline in the world following the annual 2010 Skytrax survey of 18 million international passengers. In the survey, the airline was also voted as having the Best Business Class Service and Catering in the World, as well as being honoured as the Best Airline in The Middle East for the fifth consecutive year.
Qatar Airways has orders for 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 'super jumbos' with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport would have opened. For more information, visit http://www.qatarairways.com