Manama: Qatar Airways has announced huge capacity increases across its network in Iran, including the launch of daily scheduled flights to a fourth city — Isfahan.

An additional 31 flights each week will be operated by Qatar Airways, representing a 150 per cent increase in frequency.

The capacity rise to 52 services a week, up from the current 21, will be phased in over a four-month period, starting December 1, the Qatari daily Gulf Times reported yesterday.

Tehran will be served with an additional daily flight; Iran's second largest city of Mashad is to get nine extra flights; Shiraz, the economic centre of southern Iran, will be given eight new flights; and, starting January 11, services will begin to Isfahan in central Iran.

Isfahan, home to textile and steel mills and located on the country's main north-south and east-west crossroads, is the heartbeat of central Iran's economy.

"Today's announcement is an historic moment showing the strengthening of ties between our two countries," Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways chief executive officer, said.

"Almost five months ago, Qatar Airways introduced the Iranian city of Shiraz to our network. We have been working with the authorities in Iran for increased capacity across the country and are delighted to have reached an agreement to make today's announcement."