Qatar Airways marked yet another route milestone this week with the official launch of scheduled passenger flights to Chicago – its fifth North American destination.
Initially starting as a thrice-weekly service, the Doha-based airline will enhance capacity on the non-stop Chicago route to a daily operation from June 15.
Following the inaugural flight and airport ceremony at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker welcomed US-based and international journalists to a Press Conference to discuss the new route and the airline’s increasingly pivotal role in the global aviation industry.
The United States remains a focal point for the airline, with Al Baker hinting at the possibility of additional routes within the country over the next few years.
He said the airline launched its North American operations in the summer of 2007 with flights to New York and Washington DC, followed by Houston, Montreal and now, Chicago with a total of 27 scheduled flights each week to five gateways across the region.
“With the new American Airlines code share, we are able to connect more passengers with seamless access through Chicago. And later this year, we hope to officially become a member of the oneworld alliance that will provide Qatar Airways with a stronger network around the world, including the vitally important US market.”
Media also heard of the airline’s aggressive expansion so far this year that has seen Chicago joined by new additions to Qatar Airways’ global map – namely, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, the Iraqi city of Najaf and Gassim in Saudi Arabia. Over the next few weeks and months, Qatar Airways will launch flights to Salalah in Oman, Chengdu in China and the Iraqi cities of Basra and Sulaymaniyah.With the opening of a brand new gateway in Doha – Hamad International Airport – in phases this year to cope with the rapid expansion of the national airline, Qatar Airways is gearing up for another busy period of operations during 2013.