Qatar to launch US flights

Qatar Airways plans to launch flights in June to New York, its first US destination. The carrier will initially operate four flights per week to New York JFK. It plans to add a daily service to Washington Dulles soon after but has not yet set a launch date. Qatar Airways is also launching flights to three Asian destinations - Chennai, Bali and Ho Chi Minh City - at the end of March, to Geneva in June and to Stockholm in November.

Emirates adds more 777s

Emirates has committed to acquiring another five Boeing 777-300ERs. The aircraft, which will be leased from GE Capital Aviation Services from late 2008, will give the Dubai-based carrier 59 777-300ERs by 2013. Emirates, which now has 101 aircraft in its fleet with more than 100 on order, says it "has mapped an ambitious growth plan for the next 10 years, which can be gauged by our intention to launch services to Venice, Houston, Sao Paulo and Newcastle this year".

SAS to serve Dubai

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) plans to launch a thrice weekly service from Copenhagen to Dubai in late October. Dubai will be the eighth long-haul destination for SAS and its first in the Middle East. Copenhagen will also be Dubai's first direct link to Scandinavia.

Al-Khayala expands

Saudi Arabian all-premium Al-Khayala has launched flights to Dubai from its Riyadh base. Dubai is Al-Khayala's first international destination. The carrier, which is owned by Saudi Arabia's National Air Services and operates 44-seat Airbus A319s, previously only served major domestic routes.

Etihad launches Sydney

UAE carrier Etihad Airways has selected Sydney as its first Australian destination. It is launching nonstops thrice weekly from Abu Dhabi in late March and will increase them to daily at the end of June. Etihad will also launch four weekly flights to Dublin in August and thrice weekly flights to Milan in September. Etihad is taking delivery of four Airbus A330-200s and two A340-600s between June and September, which it will use to increase capacity by 18% this summer.

Source: Airline Business