Qatar Airways is now executing global expansion with new destinations

A Monitor Report 16 Jul, 2017  |    -      +
DOHA : By the end of August 2017, Qatar Airways is going to expand its operation to two new destinations. More destinations are to follow.

Joining Qatar Airways' global network, which spans six continents, are: Sohar, Sultanate of Oman, which will launch on August 8; and Prague, Czech Republic, which will launch on August 21.

The airline has confirmed the start of its new service between Doha and Sohar with three-weekly flights beginning August 8, while the service between Doha and Prague will operate on a daily basis from 21 August. Both destinations will be operated by Qatar Airways' Airbus A320 aircraft.

Qatar Airways recently launched a direct daily service to Dublin, Republic of Ireland, as part of its rapid global expansion strategy, with service to Nice, France, commencing July 4, and flights to Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, on July 17.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker said, "Having recently been named Airline of the Year at the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards, it is now our turn as an airline to give back to all of our passengers and supporters around the world. Qatar Airways' announcement today comes at a time when we are accelerating our global expansion plans by expediting the launch of these two new destinations. Qatar Airways is committed to connecting more people to more places, through our five-star hub, Hamad International Airport, while supporting our global message of 'Going Places Together."

Other new destinations planned for the remainder of this year and 2018 include Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco, US; and Santiago, Chile. A total of 25 new destination launches will take place throughout 2017-2018.

The new Prague and Sohar routes will be served by an Airbus A320 aircraft featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class.

Passengers can use any transfer time to take advantage of the many activities and services available at Hamad International Airport, from the free Wi-Fi, airside swimming pool and play areas for children, through to the multiple quiet areas in which passengers can relax, as well as the amazing array of duty free shopping and dining options.

Baker says blockade will

hit profits

Qatar Airways' outspoken boss Akbar Al-Baker accused neighbouring Gulf states on July 13 of "bullying" his country during the region's political crisis and said his company's profits would hit by the dispute.

Baker insisted that Qatar could sustain the impact of what he called a blockade imposed on Doha, but conceded that an impact on profits was inevitable for the Gulf carrier.

"It has to (affect profits) because we have additional costs to operate in and out of the country," he said.

"And this is normal when you are blockading somebody. They will have additional costs to operate in and out of the region."

Pressed on how much of an impact there would be, Baker declined to give numbers.

Last month the airline announced profits of US$540 million for the financial year to March 2017, a 22 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.

But the airline faces a hit after the June 5 decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to impose sanctions on Qatar, over accusations it supports Islamist extremism and was too close to Iran.

Among the sanctions was a decision to close the airspace of the countries to Qatar Airways.

This means the Doha-based carrier can no longer continue its lucrative services to Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and has to divert some flights on longer routes because of airspace restrictions.

Qatar denies the charges

Baker said Qatar could endure the crisis for "as long as it is there". "All the people have a normal life, all the supplies are available, actually more than what it was before, so what is the problem?

"We need our neighbours to know that this kind of bullying doesn't work because the people of Qatar are very robust and we have no issue to have our normal life.

"This is a loss for them not for us."

He was speaking at a ceremony in Doha to show his company's support for Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Qatar Airways unveiled the latest in a growing number of huge billboards that have sprung up around Doha depicting a profile of the emir, with the words "Tamim the glory".

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