LONDON – Qatar Airways (QR) and American Airlines (AA) have this week begun their strategic partnership that was signed in February this year.
The partnership begins on AA’s domestic network, with up to 1,000 flights featuring the QR name.
The 1,000 flights will connect with QR’ 10 U.S destinations that will take passengers onwards to Doha and beyond, depending on the customer’s itineary.
The following destinations from QR’s network in the U.S will be covered, which will connect onwards to 200 cities:
- Chicago O’Hare
- Dallas Fort Worth
- Minneapolis/St. Paul
- San Francisco
It is understood that additional codesharing arrangements including destinations within Central America and the Caribbean will be added, subject to the normal government approval process.
Commenting on the news is Simon Talling-Smith, the CCO of QR, who emphasised that this is the first step to expansion into the U.S market.
“This codeshare is just the first step in renewing our long-term strategic partnership with American Airlines. The rollout of this domestic codeshare demonstrates our airlines are confident about the future and during this difficult time we continue to focus on how we can enhance the customer experience for our millions of passengers.”
“As two of the strongest airlines in the world, I have no doubt that we will overcome the current challenge and be well-positioned to continue providing our passengers the reliable, safe and award-winning service that they have come to trust from us.”
American Airlines will be placing its code on QR flights between the U.S. and to destinations within the Middle-East, Africa and Asia.
Also commenting on this milestone was Vasu Raja, the VP of Network Strategy for AA, who expressed pleasure over this deal.
“We are pleased that we’ve reached this important milestone with Qatar Airways. We look forward to welcoming Qatar Airways passengers throughout our domestic network as we continue to focus on the wellbeing of our customers, team members and the communities we serve during this uncertain time. This is just the beginning of a strong partnership and we have a very bright future ahead of us.”
Qatar Airways also said that it would look at “exploring the opportunity for American Airlines to operate flights between the U.S and Qatar, along with a number of joint commercial and operational initiatives to further strengthen this renewed partnership”, the statement said.
At the moment, the carrier is operating around 150 scheduled flights per week to 30 destinations as part of its ongoing effort to gradually increase operations in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
By the end of June, the carrier aims to expand such operations to 80 destinations, meaning more scheduled flights down the line.
The airline has also been a key player in providing around 200 charter flights, repatriating around one million people back to their respective home countries.
Its cargo wing has been conducting around 175 flights per day, transporting around 175,000, which is the equivalent of around 1,750 fully loaded Boeing 777 Freighters.
Overall, it remains clear that these strategic partnerships will be important for the likes of American and Qatar, especially as the industry is beginning to recover and ramp up operations as the this deadly virus subsides.
It will be interesting to see given the past battles between the US3 (American, Delta & United) and the ME3 (Emirates, Etihad & Qatar), whether such a conflict could eventually come to an end and result in more partnerships around the globe.