LONDON – Qatar Airways (QR) announced on Friday that it would begin to resume more US flights as it plans to rebuild its American route network.
The carrier plans to offer 56 weekly flights to eight US gateways by mid-September, maintaining its position as the largest international carrier operator services to and from the US.
With strong partnerships in places with JetBlue (B6) and American airlines (AA), QR has the ability to offer its customers a route network for onwards travel within the Americas on more than 600 daily flights with AA and more than 70 daily flights with B6.
This places QR in a unique position to offer greater connectivity for its passengers in the current COVID-19 restrictions when compared to other international carriers.
Comments from Qatar Airways CEO
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said, “Qatar Airways has remained committed to bringing people home safely since the onset of the pandemic, and our commitment to the US, a very important strategic market, has never wavered.
“We are proud of our repatriation efforts to-date, and we look forward to providing travelers access to even more flights to the US.”
“With the resumption of flights to Houston and Philadelphia, two major cities. The addition of these flights brings us to eight U.S. destinations and maintains our position as the largest international carrier in the US, and we look forward to soon returning to all ten of our incredible US gateways.”
The carrier plans to start the resumption of flights to two additional US gateways, Houston (IAH) with a three times weekly service starting on September 2 and Philadelphia (PHL) with a four times weekly service starting from September 15.
Qatar Airways also announced additional flight frequencies to daily flights to Los Angeles (LAX) due to start from August 12 and a double daily service to New York (JFK) to begin on September 1.
After these routes are reopened it will see QR’s eight gateways across the U, with flights from Doha to Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, placing the carrier as a leader of US flights from the Middle east.
Qatar will operate these flights with its A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet after the carrier said that “The A380 is not environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.”
This comment saw the airline gound its entire super Jumbo fleet, with no current plans to bring them back into service.
Qatar Adds Adelaide to Australian Flights
Following the announcement last week for the additional US flights, Qatar announced yesterday that they would now also be starting services to Adelaide on a two times weekly service. This now sees QR as the only international airline that is operating flights to five major Australian cities.
H.E Mr. Akbar Al Baker said, “We are excited to resume services to Adelaide, highlighting our ongoing commitment to the Australian market during this difficult period”.
“With the largest global network in the region and the Best Airport in the Middle East offering seamless and efficient connectivity to destinations across the world, we have been the airline of choice for many Australian Embassies to help bring Australians home.”
“Australian Government data (BITRE) showed during the peak of repatriation efforts, our airline helped take home almost ten times more passengers in and out of Australia than our nearest competitors.”
“The resumption of the flights to Adelaide service now sees Qatar operate a total of 23 weekly passengers and two weekly freighter flights to Australia which the carrier says is “supporting repatriation and Australian exporters.”
With the resumption of flights to Adelaide, Qatar Airways will operate 23 passenger flights per week to Australia, operating:
● Two weekly flights to Adelaide
● Three weekly flights to Brisbane
● Four weekly flights to Perth
● Daily flights to Melbourne
● Daily flights to Sydney
Comments from Australian Officials
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Senator for South Australia, The Hon Simon Birmingham, said, “I am delighted to see the ongoing commitment of Qatar Airways to the Adelaide market.”
“These flights will provide another freight route for South Australian exporters, enabling them to get their high-quality produce onto planes and into the Middle East and Europe.”
“Qatar’s flights to Adelaide will be the first regular passenger service flight to the Middle East since March when the world went into complete lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Once this service is in operation, it will finally allow Australian customers options for important connections to Europe and beyond, something Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Mr. Mark Young, said, “will be great for both essential travelers and South Australian freight exporters.”
H.E Akbar Al Baker added, “We are proud to have been one of the few airlines to never stop services to Australia, even expanding our Australian operations during the crisis, to help repatriate over 170,000 Australians and international travelers with their loved ones and transporting hundreds of tonnes of cargo to maintain vital supply chains for Australian agriculture exporters.”
“The resumption of Adelaide services and the recent launch of new flights to Brisbane demonstrate our long-term commitment to Australia and our guarantee to support Australian passengers and exporters with global connectivity during both good and bad times.”
More Flights, Safety Still the Priority
With the addition of these new flights to Adelaide, Philadelphia and Huston QR is positing themselves to once compete on the global scale. This will be boosted by the carrier winning the appeal this year to get the blockade imposed on it by other Middle Eastern countries removed, following a court ruling.
Even as the carrier begins to add more flights back to its route network, it says that safety is still its number one priority. QR offers a complimentary protective kit and a disposable face shield for passengers. QR also ensures that its cabin Crew has the required full Person Protective Equipment (PPE) for each flight.
Qatar Airways is also extending its booking policies to offer even more choice to its passengers. QR ensures that all its customers are able to travel with peace of mind.
The airline said that it will allow passengers to change their destinations and dates as often as they may need as long as it is within 5,000 miles of the originally planned destination.
Qatar confirmed that any booking changes made will not incur charges or fare differences as long as these changes are made before December 31, 2020.
After, the carrier will apply its original fees and charges once again for flight changes. All customers who book flights before December 31, 2020, will have their tickets valid for two years from the date of issuance.
Featured image: Qatar Airways A350. Photo: Qatar Airways