Qatar Airways will add seven new services and restore flights to 11 more destinations as part of a major expansion, though chief executive Akbar Al Baker acknowledges launch dates will be dependent on when the carrier receives its new aircraft deliveries.

Doha-based Qatar Airways will begin serving Trabzon in Turkey from June and Lyon in France from July, as well as flights to Toulouse – though a launch date for the latter French service has yet to be set.

Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker at ITB Mar 23

Source: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways chief executive (centre) announced plans for seven new routes at ITB in Berlin on 7 March

The airline will also add Medan in Indonesia from next January and Chittagong in Bangladesh by March 2024, while it will begin flights to two more African destinations, Juba in South Sudan and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. No launch dates for the latter have been confirmed.

Announcing the new routes at a press conference at the ITB event in Berlin, Al Baker said the airline was being “very conservative” in the launch dates for the new routes and service resumptions. “This will of course be brought forward, depending on aircraft deliveries to us, both by Airbus and from Boeing,” he says, reflecting the supply chain challenges hampering manufacturer efforts to ramp up aircraft production since the pandemic. 

"Everybody is facing supply chain problems, which is putting pressure on aircraft deliveries,” he says. "This is why a lot of the timelines for our increasing freqencies is to be advised, [it] depends on how fast we will receive our airplanes. The aircraft deliveries are falling behind the timeline they are contractually obligated for those aircraft manufacturers to give to us. So we will wait.

"We hope that things will improve. We are confident it will improve and again it also depends on the [Ukraine] conflict that is taking place in Europe, which is also putting pressure on the supply chain, because a lot raw materials were coming from the conflicted area.”

Alongside the seven new routes, Qatar will also restore 11 previously served destinations and lift frequencies on 35 more. The expansion plan covers the period through to the end of its next financial year, ending June 2024. “It is really unprecedented," says Al Baker. “21% growth in flights from July 2023 versus July 2022, which translates to 655 frequencies."