Qatar Airways is preparing for its 2012 Middle East route expansion this week with Iraq being added to the airline’s growing network.
The northern Iraqi city of Erbil and capital Baghdad will join the airline’s international portfolio of routes over a period of two weeks. Starting May 23, scheduled flights will begin to Erbil, followed on June 7 by operations to Baghdad. Both routes will be operated four-times-a-week non-stop from Qatar Airways’ Doha hub.
The addition of Iraq marks yet another move by the Doha-based airline to venture into high demand, underserved markets. With the launch of two routes in Iraq in the space of just two weeks, Qatar Airways will take its new start-ups in 2012 to six destinations, with a further seven routes planned by the end of the year.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said Iraq had long been under the microscope by the company’s planning team, essentially due to lack of international air services in a country that had limited capacity for many years due to political instability.
“Now we believe is the right time to enter Iraq due to demand and infrastructure changes in a country that warrants more business and greater air access,” he said.
“We constantly evaluate numerous route opportunities and taking into consideration a number of factors, we feel that now is the opportunity to venture into this market. With international corporate houses looking to do business in Iraq, frequent air access will ease travel to and from the country via our Doha hub. The two Iraq routes mark the first start-ups in the Middle East for over a year and we continue to look at further destinations within the region to widen our reach.”
Qatar Airways’ passengers flying to Iraq from destinations across the Gulf, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Asia Pacific and The Americas have excellent connections via the airline’s Doha hub. Over the next few months, Qatar Airways launches flights to a diverse portfolio of new routes – Perth, Australia (July 3); Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (July 25); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); and Yangon, Myanmar (October 3).
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently operating a modern fleet of 108 aircraft to 114 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
DOHA – ERBIL flight schedules, effective 23 May 2012: 4-times-a-week
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
QR446 Depart Doha at 0915 hrs, arrive Erbil at 1150 hrs
QR447 Depart Erbil at 1250 hrs, arrive Doha at 1510 hrs
Fridays and Sundays
QR444 Depart Doha at1320 hrs, arrive Erbil at 1555 hrs
QR445 Depart Erbil at 1655 hrs, arrive Doha at 1915 hrs
DOHA – BAGHDAD flight schedules, effective 7 June 2012: 4-times-a-week
Mondays and Thursdays
QR442 Depart Doha at 1340s hrs, arrive Baghdad at 1555 hrs
QR443 Depart Baghdad at 1655 hrs, arrive Doha at 1855 hrs
Saturdays and Sundays
QR440 Depart Doha at 0905 hrs, arrive Baghdad at 1120 hrs
QR441 Depart Baghdad at 1220 hrs, arrive Doha at 1420 hrs
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