Qatar Airways’ 2012 route expansion plans focus on Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East with a raft of new destinations set to join the airline’s rapidly-growing global network.

Highlights include Perth in Western Australia, the Finnish capital Helsinki, Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and three East African cities – Zanzibar, Kigali and Mombassa, in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, respectively.

Operating from the airline’s hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, all seven new routes will be launched over the next few months.

They will join previously announced Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively, which will become part of Qatar Airways family of routes from 1 February 2012.

“We are continuing what we started back in 1997 when Qatar Airways was launched with new routes and new aircraft being introduced at an unprecedented rate to further strengthen what is truly a global network airline,” said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker. “Our mission has been to operate to key business and leisure destinations around the world, but also to underserved markets where others dare not venture into. We take bold decisions to serve certain markets because we believe it makes strong business sense.”

Recently named Airline of the Year 2011 by global industry audit Skytrax, Qatar Airways now flies to over 100 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of more than 100 aircraft. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.