Qatar Airways will add three major destinations in the coming months, it has been reported.
Yesterday, we revealed that the Doha-based carrier will launch flights to Edinburgh in May 2014 (see news, November 20). Now comes the news that Qatar Airways is expected to launch new services to Amsterdam, Prague and Rio de Janeiro next year.
In a way, this development does not come as a surprise. Amsterdam has proved to be a successful destination for the Gulf carriers thanks to keen marketing and a good product offering.
Emirates was first of the three big Gulf three to inaugurate flights to Amsterdam a few years ago and, such was the demand, the airline quickly upgraded its daily B777 service to an A380.
Abu Dhabi's Etihad followed next in cooperation with Dutch airline KLM. And now the scene appears set for Qatar Airways to follow suit, according to aviation website anna.aero.
Prague demonstrates the pent-up demand in Central Europe for long-haul flying which, so far, has been capitalised on by Emirates. Home carrier CSA has a miniscule long-haul network and so many travellers tend to interline with foreign carriers using hub airports in neighbouring countries.
A service to Rio de Janeiro would, of course, be timed to coincide with next year's World Cup in Brazil. It means that the Gulf carriers continue to challenge Europe's large national airlines.