Qatar's new Oman hub, Emirates-Flydubai get closer and more

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker at the unveiling of a new mural of Qatar's Emir, Tamim Al-Thani, at Hamad International Airport

Nevil Gibson brings you up to date with how Qatar Airways is handling the travel ban by neighbouring Arab states

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Qatar Airways sets up new hub in Oman
Qatar Airways will use a new airport in Oman to get around sanctions imposed by its neighbouring Arab states. From August 8, it will transfer three flights a week from Dubai International Airport to Sohar Airport in northern Oman, effectively making it an alternative hub to Hamad International Airport at Doha.

Low-cost carriers Salam Air and Sharjah’s Air Arabia are the only airlines that operate from Sohar airport, which opened in September last year. The sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt ban the use of their airspace, forcing Qatar Airways to fly longer routes north through Iran.

Qatar Airways has demonstrated its patriotism by installing a vast canvas displaying the image of the country’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in front of its corporate headquarters at Hamad International Airport.

Doha-Moscow service expands
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is continuing to add to its global network with more capacity to the Russian capital (Red Square and St Basil's pictured above). From August 2, it will put an extra daily flights on its Doha-Moscow route, bringing the total frequency to 21 flights a week. This new service will use an Airbus A320 aircraft that has been diverted from the suspension of regional routes affected by the Arab nations’ boycott.

Capital Express times to change
Singapore Airlines says it will push back the departure time of the Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route, known as the Capital Express, by 55 minutes from October 28 as part of efforts to open up the route to more connection opportunities beyond its Singapore hub. The new time will mean a slightly later arrival time in Canberra but no change in the 75-minute stopover. However, the ground time in Wellington will be cut by a couple of hours, resulting in an earlier departure time and arrival in Singapore 65 minutes earlier at 0435 local time. The four times a week service uses Boeing 777-200s configured with 38 life-flat business class and 228 economy class seats for a total of 266.

Emirates, Flydubai merge networks
Dubai-based airlines Emirates and Flydubai have unveiled an extensive partnership that will integrate their global and regional networks. They will also further develop their Dubai hub to align their scheduling, systems and operations. Both airlines are owned by the Dubai government. 

Emirates flies to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points) while Flydubai operates 58 Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The combined network comprises 216 unique destination points. By 2022, this is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft. 

Route news of the week
Cathay Pacific has added a 12th weekly flight to its Hong Kong-Paris CDG service. It operates on Wednesday mornings from Hong Kong. Singapore Airlines has added a fourth daily flight to its Singapore-Perth service and will boost its Singapore-Sydney route to 35 a week (now 33) from December 5 to January 31. China Southern is adding a fifth weekly flight on its Guangzhou-Perth route from October 29. The new flight operates on Sundays from Guangzhou using an A330-300 aircraft. Emirates will increase its Dubai-Khartoum (Sudan) service from five to seven times a week from August 8. Boeing B777 aircraft operate on this route.

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