Qatar Airways has launched its first flights to Australia, the airline’s fourth new route this year.

Non-stop flights to Melbourne, the eighty-fifth destination in the airline’s global network, began on Monday. Flights will operate three times a week initially and daily from 1 January 2010.

Qatar Airways says it is also planning to launch flights to Sydney in 2010.

In 2009, the carrier launched flights to Houston and the Indian cities of Amritsar and Goa.

Construction of the New Doha International airport is currently under way to cope with the expansion of Qatar Airways. The airline has about 220 aircraft on order worth more than $40bn.

The new airport will have capacity for 24 million passengers a year when it opens in 2011. This will increase to 50 million passengers a year after 2015 (MEED 11:6:09).