When the diplomatic blockade against Qatar was announced the two main concerns were food security and travel. Since all ways of travel, including air, was banned Qatar Airways (QA), the state’s very own air carrier was in strain.
Qatar relied heavily on the routes over its gulf neighbours to reach its most busy destinations fastest. In fact Qatar Airways flights would regularly pass through Saudi and Emirati airspace. In fact, a full 18 percent of the airline’s flights were to the four countries leading the blockade.
QA had to quickly find newer routes, albeit lengthier, to fix the travel ban problem and it did so without a glitch. According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, air traffic control in Iran was expecting nearly 200 more Qatar Airways flights to cross its skies per day — in other words, all or almost all Qatar Airways flights will pass through its airspace.
Not even two months since it was faced with an existential problem, QA has been consistently launching new routes but it outdid itself by announcing recently that Qatar Airways is launching as many as 26 “exciting” new destinations until end-2018, the national carrier said on Tuesday.
These include Chiang Mai (Thailand); Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco and Santiago, Chile.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said its rapid expansion plans are continuing apace after it unveiled more flights to top destinations in Asia.
QA announced on Tuesday that is added extra services to the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, as well as to the popular Thai holiday destination of Krabi.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said, “The Asian market is very important for us, so we are very pleased to be able to increase our flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Krabi.
“Thousands of passengers every day already experience the seamless connection between flights through our state-of-the-art Doha Hub at Hamad International Airport, and now we have made it even easier for them to reach these increasingly popular Asian destinations and experience our award-winning five-star service. We will continue to explore opportunities to expand our global network of flights and add value by increasing services across our network in response to customer demand.”
“The frequency increases have come despite the recent GCC blockade, with Qatar Airways continuing its ambitious expansion plans and growth strategy to welcome more passengers on board to enjoy its award-winning customer service,” the airline said.
This year alone Qatar Airways has been named Airline of the Year by the prestigious ‘2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards’ (the fourth time it has won this global accolade) along with clinching ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’.