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Qatar Airways’ Al Baker talks expansion plans in Chicago

Qatar Airways’ Al Baker talks expansion plans in Chicago

Qatar Airways has marked another route milestone 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 15th.

The addition of Chicago takes the airline’s global network to 126 diverse destinations spanning six continents, covering a wide range of destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Following the inaugural flight and airport ceremony at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We are looking forward to connecting the Midwest to the Middle East and beyond.

“With the Chicago route going daily from June 15th, and our presence here for more than two years through dedicated freighter services, it clearly demonstrates Qatar Airways’ commitment to this key city.

“The economic benefits will extend to key regional industries as well – engineering, education, and commodities trading in particular.

“Many travellers and businesses will benefit from additional access to and from the Middle East.”

He added:  “We anticipate a large influx of travellers not just from the energy community, but also from construction, the arts, finance and technology to name a few.

“Qatar Airways has been voted the best airline for two years running and we are eager to introduce this city to our award-winning business, actively engaging with local leaders and deserving community projects, strengthening relationships and the bond between Chicago and Doha.” 

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.

He spoke of two key developments this year that will further raise the carrier’s profile in the United States – a new code share agreement started with American Airlines will strengthen Qatar Airways’ position in the United States, in particular Chicago, one of its US partner’s hubs, together with membership of the oneworld global airline alliance.

“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.”