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Qatar Airways announces 12 new destinations to start in 2018

Staff Writer |
Qatar Airways plans to start direct flights to San Francisco early next year as part of efforts to expand its routes into the United States.

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Chief executive Akbar al-Baker, speaking at a news conference in Dubai on Monday, also announced 11 other new destinations to start in 2018.

Qatar Airways' U.S. expansion contrasts with rival Emirates, which said this month it would cut flights on five U.S. destinations from May due to a "significant deterioration" in bookings.

This followed U.S. President Donald Trump's attempts to restrict travel from some Muslim countries, which has hit demand from the Middle East.

"We didn't have massive declines like other carriers," al-Baker said. "We will continue our expansion."

The airline has seen "some decline" in passenger demand on U.S. routes, but he said this was manageable.

Qatar Airways has delayed plans to start flights to Las Vegas until the second quarter 2018, from the first quarter of that year, "mainly due to technical reasons," al-Baker said without explaining further.

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