Qatar announces new routes in aggressive global expansion

New Qatar routes include capitals and party towns.

Steve Creedy - editor

30 Nov 2016

Doha-based carrier announces eight new routes.

Capital cities in Ireland and Australia as well as the party towns of Las Vegas and Rio de Janeiro are among the new destinations targeted by Middle Eastern carrier Qatar as it continues its aggressive  expansion in 2017-18.

The airline announced this week it would add eight new international destinations to the seven it previously announced on its fast-growing network which already includes more than 150 destinations in six continents.

The newly announced ports are: the Australian capital of Canberra; Dublin, Ireland; Las Vegas; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Medan, Kualanamu International Airport, Indonesia; and Tabuk and Yanbu, the 9th and 10th destinations in Saudi Arabia.

Canberra is the airline’s fifth destination in Australia and only the second international service for the  city after Singapore Airlines started its Singapore-Canberra-Wellington "Capital Express" service this year.

Las Vegas is the Gulf carrier’s 11th US destination while Medan is its third in Indonesia.

The previously  announced destinations for 2017-18  include the world’s longest commercial flight between Doha and New Zealand, scheduled to start February 5 as well as flights to Europe, Thailand and Africa.

“With today’s network announcement, we will be able to connect more people to more places than any other Gulf airline, and we will ensure our passengers will delight in the journey,’’Qatar group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.

Qatar Airways, which has opened 12 new destinations so far in 2016, is a member of the oneworld alliance and competes against fellow gulf juggernauts Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Dubai-based Emirates.

It prides itself on a young fleet of  191 aircraft that includes Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft as well as wide range of Airbus aircraft. It was the global launch customer for the Airbus A350.