Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) has announced that it will add sixteen new international destinations to its network in 2018 and 2019, defying the ongoing blockade of Qatar by some of the neighbouring Arab states.

"During the blockade, Qatar Airways continued its expansion; it continued its march ahead. We kept our country supplied and we became prouder as a nation. Today, we are more independent than we were nine months ago. We are very defiant, and Qatar Airways will keep on expanding and keep on raising the flag for my country all over the globe," CEO Akbar Al Baker said during the ongoing ITB Berlin trade fair on March 7.

Qatar Airways plans to add previously unannounced routes to Luxembourg, London Gatwick, Lisbon, Tallinn Lennart Meri, Malta Int'l, Cebu, Davao, Da Nang, Bodrum Milas, Antalya, and Malaga.

The list also included previously announced routes to Thessaloniki (from March 27), Hatay (from April 4), Cardiff (from May 1), and Mykonos (from May 30).

Qatar Airways will be the sole operator on all of these city pairs.

The carrier has also announced it will increase the frequency of its Malé route to 3x daily.

The Qatari carrier has faced operational difficulties since June 5, 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt, collectively severed diplomatic ties with Doha and closed their respective airspaces to Qatar-registered aircraft. This blockade subsequently forced Qatar Airways to cut some 20% of its capacity, in addition to re-routing a number of flights to avoid embargoed airspace.