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Qatar continues aggressive route expansion

By control on January 25, 2012

Qatar Airways will launch new services to Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21; Zagreb, Croatia, on May 9; and Perth, Australia, on July 3, the carrier's second route into the country. Airline officials are also looking into new routes to Zanzibar, Tanzania; Helsinki, Finland; Gassim, Saudi Arabia; and Mombasa, Kenya.

According to a press release, Qatar will see a slew of new routings in Europe, Africa and Australia this year.  The carrier had previously announced routings to cities in Azerbaijan and Georgia scheduled for a February launch.

The new routes are passenger oriented, but according to a company press release, trade benefits exist as well. Kigali, the company points out, is a key business center with a rich mining trade. Zagreb, according to the airline, is an under-served market with limited capacity. Both the Kigali and Zagreb routes will be flown using A320 planes. The Perth flights, which will start at a thrice-weekly frequency that will be upgraded to daily on December 1, will be flown on a Boeing 777.

“In keeping with our highly focused and tailored growth strategy to enter under-served and thriving markets all over the world, the latest additions very much match our plans to open up a host of new destinations," Akbar Al Baker, Qatar's CEO, said in a statement. “These are exciting times for Qatar Airways, as we begin our route expansion program in just a few days’ time by inaugurating services to two European capital cities.

In 2011, the carrier focused on European expansion, launching flights to seven new cities.

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