Qatar Airways to launch direct flights to San Francisco next year
Qatar Airways plans to fly to some 26 new destinations in the coming year, including to the northern California city of San Francisco, the airline has announced.
Other new routes include Cardiff, UK; Utapao, Thailand; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Mykonos, Greece; Málaga, Spain; Accra, Ghana; Lisbon, Portugal; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Prague, Czech Republic; Kiev, Ukraine and Mombasa, Kenya, the airline said in a statement.
The 12 routes will all launch in 2018, and are in addition to 14 already announced destinations for 2017-2018.
Speaking to reporters at the annual Arabian Travel Market in Dubai this week, CEO Akbar Al Baker said that if the airline’s aircraft orders come in on time, all 26 new routes will begin by March 2018.
That’s the end of Qatar’s financial year.
Qatar Airways already flies nonstop from Doha to 10 US cities, including Los Angeles.
According to AP, Al Baker said the airline was not deterred by recent events, including questions about potential visa bans on certain passengers.
“Qatar Airways does not plan and will not reduce frequencies to the United States. I am sure that these uncertainties that passengers have soon could be resolved by statements from the United States’ government.”
While both of Qatar Airways’ Gulf competitors already fly to San Francisco, Qatar will be the first to launch a direct service to Cardiff, the capital of Wales.
The airline has not yet disclosed how many times per week it plans to fly to the city.
However, the route should also allow Qatar Airways to reach new customers who have previously been unable to fly long-haul from their local airport.
According to Cardiff Airport, more than 1 million passengers travel every year from Wales to destinations that are on the Qatar Airways network, and more than 90 percent of these currently have to travel via London.
Cardiff will be the airline’s fifth current UK route, in addition to London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.