Qatar Airways announced a raft of new routes and resumptions during a press conference at ITB Berlin.
The seven new destinations planned for launch this year include Chittagong (Bangladesh), Juba (South Sudan), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Medan (Indonesia), Trabzon (Turkey) and both Lyon and Toulouse in France.
Additionally, the airline will resume flights to 11 destinations including Beijing, Birmingham, Buenos Aires, Casablanca, Davao (Philippines), Marrakesh, Nice, Osaka, Phnom Penh, Ras al-Khaimah and Tokyo Haneda.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, also told Business Traveller that he expects the airline’s route to Cardiff to resume this year, explaining that this depends on the speed of the repair project of the A350 aircraft.
Once the A350s come back into service, it will free up the 787 aircraft for routes such as Cardiff, he added.
Last month the airline brought an end to a long-running dispute with Airbus over issues with the carrier’s fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft.
Questioned on the future of the A380, Al Baker said that he expects the aircraft to be operational for three years, after which they will be retired as other aircraft come into service.
Qatar Airways reactivated some of its A380s in December 2021 due to issues with its A350 fleet which resulted in a loss of capacity, though the CEO stated at the time that he did not see a long-term future for the aircraft. Qatar Airways currently has ten A380 aircraft, seven of which are currently flying.
During the press conference, the airline also outlined frequency increases for 35 destinations in its network. In the UK this includes:
- London Gatwick – increased from seven weekly flights to ten (and up to 14 in the peak summer season)
- London Heathrow – increased from 42 weekly flights to 45
- Edinburgh – increased from 10 weekly flights to 12
The summer 2023 schedule will see more than 655 weekly flights compared to the same period last year. Al Baker explained that the airline has had little issues with recruitment or staffing, with the expansion unaffected as a result.
On the topic of investing in other airlines, the CEO added that the company is not currently looking to invest in other airlines.