Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has detailed the airline’s aggressive expansion plans at ITB Berlin.
In total the carrier will launch 16 new destinations for over the next two years.
At the Qatar Airways press conference, attended by almost 200 members of the international media, Al Baker announced a raft of forthcoming global destinations for the airline in line with its expedited expansion plans, including the announcement that Qatar Airways will be the first Gulf carrier to begin direct service to Luxembourg.
Other exciting new destinations to be launched by the airline include London Gatwick, United Kingdom; Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Cebu and Davao, Philippines; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Turkey; Mykonos and Thessaloniki, Greece; and Málaga, Spain.
In addition, services to Warsaw, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Prague and Kyiv will increase to a double daily frequency, while services to Madrid, Barcelona and the Maldives will increase to triple daily.
Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is tremendously excited to announce further expansion with a significant number of new destinations to be added to our extensive global network throughout 2018 and 2019.
“This is a direct reflection of our commitment to connecting travellers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient to them.
“We are committed to continuing our ambitious growth strategy, in order to be able to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible and to take them anywhere in the world they wish to go.”
He also spoke passionately about the blockade against Qatar: “During the blockade Qatar Airways continued its expansion; it continued its march ahead.
“We kept our country supplied and we became prouder as a nation.
“The blockade made my ruler an icon of defiance.
“Today, we are more independent than we were nine months ago.
“We are very defiant, and Qatar Airways will keep on expanding and keep on raising the flag for my country all over the globe.”
Further developments for the upcoming year were discussed, including additions to the airline’s sporting sponsorship portfolio.
Qatar Airways is already the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and the FIFA Club World Cup, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message – Going Places Together.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA). Just last month, the airline welcomed the Airbus A350-1000, for which it is the global launch customer.