Qatar Airways’ maiden flight to North America touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport to a ‘fireman’s salute’ water arch ceremony and a fanfare of music and entertainment.
The new service from Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, to Newark - gateway to New York City - also marked another first as the flight operated via Geneva, the airline’s newest European destination, taking its international network to 77 destinations.
Flight QR083 arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport with a host of government, business and media VIP dignitaries from Qatar and the GCC countries onboard, led by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
Qatar’s US Ambassador to the State of Qatar, His Excellency Chase Untermeyer was among the guests on the inaugural flight.
On arrival at Newark, Al Baker said: “This is an historic moment for Qatar Airways and personally, I feel honoured to see the national carrier of my country make its mark in North America for the first time.
“Our determination and endeavours to fly to the United States have at last been fulfilled. I would like to thank the authorities in both America and Qatar for making our historic route a reality today,” he added, addressing dignitaries at a special ceremony at the airport.
“We are the only Middle East carrier flying to Newark Liberty International Airport offering our passengers from across the Gulf countries and feeder markets in the Indian subcontinent with excellent onward connections across the USA.”
Added Al Baker: ” Qatar Airways embarked on its long journey from Doha early this morning to further strengthen our international network. We arrived in Geneva to a water arch ceremony that is a traditional hallmark of any of our inaugurals, marking our first flights to this lovely city in the foothills of the Swiss Alps.
“We continued our journey this afternoon to Newark and I am delighted we are finally here to be received to such a warm welcome. I am sure we will help boost the tourism industry here by bringing in business and leisure visitors from around the world to experience the delights of this great country.”
Qatar Airways’ award-winning Five Star service bridges the capital of Qatar and America’s financial heartland four-times-a-week using the carrier’s state-of-the-art Airbus A330 aircraft in a three-class configuration.
The airline operates 12 seats in First Class - seats that convert into flat beds - 18 seats in Business Class, which offer generous space with 160 degree recline, and 208 seats in Economy.
In three weeks’ time, starting July 19, Qatar Airways will serve a second destination in America. The airline will be the only Middle East carrier flying daily non-stop scheduled services between Doha and Washington DC.
Al Baker went on: “After making history last week with the announcement of our biggest-ever aircraft order for 80 Airbus A350 planes, today we enter the history books again with our brand new service to Newark.”
The launch of the US flights is the highlight of Qatar Airways’ route expansion during 2007, which has already seen Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Chennai and Geneva added to the carrier’s burgeoning network. On November 30, the carrier launches services to the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, currently operates a modern fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft to 77 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East, Indian subcontinent and America. With a growing international network, more travellers have an opportunity to use Qatar Airways’ brand new Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport, exclusively for its departing First and Business Class passengers.
The Premium Terminal features facilities including a spa, jacuzzi, exclusive duty free shopping, business centre, fine dining restaurants and cocktail bar. Built in just nine months, the US$90 million terminal is the world’s first commercial passenger building dedicated to First and Business Class passengers and offers departing and transit passengers an excellent opportunity to relax and unwind prior to their flight.
Qatar Airways was recently named ‘Middle East’s Leading Business-Class Airline’ at the inaugural regional World Travel Awards, Middle East & Africa ceremony, that took place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.