Qatar Airways is preparing for another year of expansion with the announcement of launch dates for three new routes in Africa, Europe and Australia

Routes scheduled to begin include the Rwandan capital Kigali starting on 21st of March 2012. It will further boost its European portfolio with the launch of flights to the Croatian capital of Zagreb starting May 9 2012. And from July 3 2012, the carrier will add flights to Perth as its second route in Australia.

According to the airline, the expansion programme will begin on February 1 with new services to the south eastern European cities of Baku in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi in Georgia. Future plans include: Zanzibar, Tanzania; Gassim, Saudi Arabia; Mombassa, Kenya; and Helsinki, Finland.

The 2011 expansion focused on Europe with the introduction of seven new routes: Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice, Sofia and Oslo, taking Qatar Airways’ European capacity to 27 destinations.

Kigali, rich in mining and a key African business centre, becomes the latest stop on Qatar Airways’ 16-strong city African network, which last year saw two destinations added on the continent – flights to Entebbe and Benghazi.

According to CEO, Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, the expansion programme is part of the airline’s growth strategy to open up new routes to key business and leisure destinations.

“We are delighted to be forging ahead with our expansion with today’s announcement of dates for three new routes on three continents,” Al Baker said. “I am extremely confident that the wave of new route announcements for 2012 will bring much excitement to our passengers and partners in the new destinations, as well as across our global network.”

With orders worth over $50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, Qatar Airways currently operates services to 110 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a fleet of 104 aircraft. The carrier said it has plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft by 2013.