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Emirates & Qatar add Europe routes

4th Jan 2010

More airlines in the Gulf are looking at regional destinations around Europe. Emirates is adding Prague from July 2010, Amsterdam from May 2010 and Tokyo from March using an A330, from its hub in Dubai.

Madrid also gains a connection to Dubai with Emirates, who will use an Airbus A330, becoming the first scheduled passenger service between Dubai and Spain, with an onward connection to Asia and Australia.

In a raft of announcements, Emirates also plan to use their A380 superjumbo on the Paris route, daily from mid January. Additionally Emirates will add the A380 to its very short but well patronised Jeddah service.

Qatar Airways have also revealed that Copenhagen and Barcelona will join the airline’s ever-expanding route network during the airline’s summer schedule which begins at the end of March 2010. The announcement follows months of industry speculation over the Doha-based carrier’s plans to launch two new unnamed European destinations.

Commencement of four weekly flights to Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, will see the airline significantly increase its Scandinavian presence. Qatar Airways currently serves the neighbouring Swedish capital Stockholm non-stop from Doha, a route launched two years ago. The airline recently announced that it will boost capacity on its Stockholm route with frequency increasing to daily from March next year. With Copenhagen being added, Qatar Airways will further strengthen its operations in Scandinavia. However it will an Airbus A319: an odd choice of plane, with just a single isle, for a long route.

News of the two route announcements comes just days after Qatar Airways unveiled plans to launch flights to Bengaluru (Bangalore) in southern India, the Turkish capital Ankara and Japan’s capital city of Tokyo over an eight-week period starting in February 2010. The airline also plans to launch flights to Sydney, its second Australian destination, during 2010, following the launch of flights to Melbourne, Qatar is also reported to be launching flights to Sydney.

Meanwhile Air France is looking in the other direction, and adding Abu Dhabi to it's route network. An Airbus A330 will fly from Paris CDG five times a week, with a very convenient lunchtime flight from CDG. Passengers in the UK from airports such as Southampton will be able to make a convenient connection to the gulf, arriving at just past 10pm. However Air France are likely to get some still competition from Etihad who already serve this route.



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