MIAMI — Earlier this week, Qatar Airways Flight 777 touched down at Miami International Airport (MIA), operated by a Boeing 777-200LR registered as A7-BBA. The flight inaugurated service between Doha and Miami and positioned Qatar Airways as the first of the Middle East Big 3 and Turkish Airlines to launch service to the North American gateway to Latin America.
This Qatar Airways service reconnected Miami with the Middle East for the first time since 2008. The flight is timed for optimal connections to the Far East, Australia, and much of Africa, though timing for connections to the Indian sub-continent is less optimal. Qatar Airways is a oneworld alliance member, and Miami is a major hub for alliance partner American Airlines, so the Doha – Miami leg is timed for connections to many of American’s North American and Caribbean destinations.
“Qatar Airways looks forward to building a strong relationship between Miami and Doha,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. “These two great cities have so much to share and learn from one another. We can now look forward to introducing many more US travellers to Doha and developing a strong conduit for trade and commerce, via our award-winning World’s Best Business Class.”
The inaugural flight took just over fifteen hours to complete, and was full in economy class cabin with high loads in business class. Qatar Airways will begin serving Miami with four flights per week and expansion of frequencies will be considered if demand is strong.
Miami becomes the sixth destination in the United States for Qatar Airways, who also serves Chicago O’Hare, Houston Bush, Philadelphia, New York JFK, and Washington Dulles. In July, the carrier will inaugurate services to Dallas Fort Worth as well, leaving Charlotte, Phoenix, and Los Angeles as the remaining American Airlines hubs without nonstop service to Doha.
“Qatar Airways’ decision to include Miami among its handful of U.S. destinations confirms that
Miami-Dade County is a global center for business and tourism travel, and MIA is one of the
premier airports in the world,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Miami-Dade
looks forward to strengthening the economic and cultural ties to Qatar and beyond.”
As with most of its US services, Qatar Airways is not banking on origin and destination (O&D) demand to sustain this flight. Total O&D demand between Miami and Doha was less than 7 passengers per day each way (PDEW) in 2011, with only modest growth realized since. However, total demand to Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East summed to a total of 658 passengers PDEW. Qatar Airways will enjoy a first-movers advantage over its Middle Eastern rivals in attempting to wrest control of this lucrative market away from American and European carriers. In particular, Turkish Airlines had frequently discussed entering the Miami market but never pulled the trigger with a firm launch date.