Qatar Air Adds Africa Flights as Saudi Ban Lift Shortens Trips

A Qatar Airways Ltd. aircraft sits connected to a passenger boarding bridge at Chiang Mai International Airport in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Qatar Airways launched its new direct service from Doha to Chiang Mai today. The new seasonal service will operate 4 times a week with a flight time of just over six hours. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg
A Qatar Airways Ltd. aircraft sits connected to a passenger boarding bridge at Chiang Mai International Airport in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Qatar Airways launched its new direct service from Doha to Chiang Mai today. The new seasonal service will operate 4 times a week with a flight time of just over six hours. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways increased the number of flights to African destinations after the lifting of a ban from using some other Gulf states’ air space shaved hours off journey times.

The Doha-based airline added flights to Casablanca, Tunis, Cape Town and Johannesburg, according to a Monday statement. The carrier’s network currently stands at 120 destinations, with plans to reach 130 routes by the end of March.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month to fully restore ties with neighboring Qatar, ending a three-year dispute that divided the energy-producing region. The airspace ban had forced Qatar Airways to abandon plans to add new routes and make lengthy diversions, ballooning its fuel bill.