Qatar Air announces expansion on three continents

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Qatar Airways has announced route expansion on three continents together with a huge increase in capacity in Pakistan as part of its continued aggressive growth strategy.

The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa will become the carrier’s 20th destination on the African continent, launching on September 18, followed a month later by the Philippines from October 28.

Effective March 1 next year, Philadelphia will become the airline’s fifth US gateway, the carrier said in a statement.

In addition, Qatar Airways said it is significantly increasing capacity to Pakistan where it currently operates 17 flights each week across four cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.

Beginning June 1, Qatar Airways will step up frequency to Pakistan by 60 percent to 28 flights each week – Karachi up from daily to double daily; Lahore from four to seven flights a week; and Peshawar securing an additional flight to three services each week.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced the expansion during a press conference on the opening day of Arabian Travel Market on Monday.

“Yet again Qatar Airways is bucking the trend across the industry demonstrating that we are resilient in times of global economic austerity because while others are cutting back, we see the opportunities to expand our global footprint,” he said.

“Our three new routes we are announcing today show we have faith in expanding our operations across different continents.”

He said joining the oneworld global alliance later this year will also present "tremendous travel options and benefits to our passengers".

Al Baker highlighted the importance of growth in Pakistan, saying: “We have had a well established operation in Pakistan for many years, but have always been looking to increase frequency and now thanks to new agreements in place between the relevant authorities, we can soon enjoy more capacity between Qatar and Pakistan.”

Qatar Airways has launched four destinations this year so far – Gassim, Saudi Arabia, Najaf, Iraq, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Chicago.

The network will also add Salalah, Oman on May 22, Basra and Sulaymaniyah, Iraq on June 3 and August 20 respectively, and Chengdu, China on September 3.

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