Qatar Airways plans to launch 12 destinations in 2018 and will begin offering high-speed broadband connectivity in partnership with Inmarsat, using GX Aviation technology on flights from this summer.

The new destinations include San Francisco (US); Cardiff (UK); U-Tapao (Thailand), Chittagong (Bangladesh); Mykonos (Greece); Málaga (Spain); Accra (Ghana); Lisbon (Portugal); Abidjan (Ivory Coast); Prague (Czech Republic); Kiev (Ukraine) and Mombasa (Kenya).

The Doha-based airline previously announced14 new routes for the 2017-18 period, further adding to its global network of more than 150 destinations. New destinations to launch this year include Nice (France); Chang Mai (Thailand); Dublin (Ireland) and Skopje (Macedonia).

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told ATW recently it is important for the carrier to grow. “I need to get market share,” he said.

Al Baker said Qatar has a good mix of different-sized aircraft and can adjust capacity within 48 hours before a flight departs. “You don’t expect me to allow losses. We took out 400 seats per day on the Doha-Frankfurt route [by operating smaller aircraft] when Emirates Airline announced it would come to Frankfurt from Dubai with Airbus A380s,” he said.

He said Qatar’s oneworld alliance membership has created a substantial amount of business for the carrier.

Separately, Qatar announced at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai that its partnership with Inmarsat will begin this summer, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to launch high-speed broadband connectivity.

Initially available on Airbus 350 XWBs and Boeing 777s, Inmarsat’s GX Aviation technology will offer seamless connectivity through its Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at