MIAMI — During the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair, Qatar Airways announced its plans for 14 additional new destinations, including a new service between Doha and Auckland, which would become the world’s longest route.
“Qatar Airways prides itself on being a global connector, and most importantly, providing seamless and convenient connections for our customers, so that we remain their airline of choice.” Qatar Airways GCEO Mr. Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
The carrier’s route portfolio will grow with five destinations in Europe (Pisa, Sarajevo, Helsinki, Nice and Skopje), six in Africa (Marrakech, Windhoek, Douala, Libreville, Lusaka and Seychelles), two to Southeast Asia (Krabi and Chiang Mai in Thailand) and Auckland in Southwest Pacific.
Qatar Airways’ announcement confirms the expansion plans of the carrier into Africa, competing directly with Kenya Airways and South African Airways, both of them reported heavy losses after the fall of prices in commodities and political unrest in the region.
The introduction of the new destinations comes two years after the opening of Qatar Airways’ hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha. According to the airline, it currently serves more than 28 million passengers annually, and is set to grow up to 50 million in 2018.
This year, Qatar Airways started services to Los Angeles in January. It is expected to start flights to Boston the next week and to Atlanta in June.