Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Chicago touched down at O’Hare International Airport yesterday marking the airline’s fourth gateway in the United States.
With the launch of thrice-weekly passenger services between The Windy City and Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, Chicago becomes destination number 126 in the airline’s impressive worldwide network.
Qatar Airways now operates 24 passenger flights a week between the United States and Doha – daily from New York, Washington DC and Houston and the new thrice-weekly services from Chicago.
Effective June 15, the Chicago – Doha route will increase to a daily service. Qatar Airways also operates twice-weekly dedicated cargo flights between the two cities, launched in August 2010.
The maiden flight carried international media and airline management. The new route offers a connection between Chicago and a vast number of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia Pacific via Doha.
Al Baker and Chicago airport authorities delivered speeches at O’Hare International to mark the occasion, noting the economic impact of Qatar Airways’ arrival in the city.
Al Baker said, “With the local tourism industry receiving 50 million visitors annually and Chicago being the headquarters of some of the world’s biggest corporates, including Boeing, there are many business opportunities linking our two cities and regions.
“Qatar Airways today spreads its reach in North America and we are proud to say that our commitments here will continue,” added Al Baker.
City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a congratulatory message to Qatar Airways, commenting: “Chicago is pleased to welcome Qatar Airways’ world-class service to our global gateway, O’Hare International Airport. This new international air service creates additional economic opportunities, increases tourism to our city and strengthens Chicago’s cultural and business connection to the world.
“This service will generate more than $200 million in annual economic impact and will connect passengers from Chicago to destinations across India, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”
Aside from Chicago, New York, Washington and Houston, Qatar Airways’ North American operations cover thrice-weekly services to Montreal.
Qatar Airways’ Doha – Chicago route is being operated with a Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft in a two-class configuration of 293 seats in Economy Class and 42 in Business Class.The aircraft features seatback TV screens providing all passengers in both cabins with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system – a choice of more than 1,000 audio and video-on-demand options.