While other airlines are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the forthcoming holiday season, Qatar Airways remains undeterred and is pushing ahead with a ramp-up of services to the United States. The move to add even more flights comes despite a resurgence of the novel Coronavirus and renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions in many countries.
From November 14, the Doha-based airline will serve 10 destinations across the United States, with a total of 61 flights per week. Service to Miami will be resumed with a twice-weekly flight, while Chicago will be served by a daily service and the addition of a twice-weekly service.
New York JFK, meanwhile, already had a daily service and a 5x weekly service and will now have a twice-weekly service added for an anticipated increase in travel demand for the holiday season.
In addition, Qatar Airways continues to serve: San Francisco (SFO), Boston (BOS), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Philadelphia (PHL) and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
The Miami and additional Chicago flights will be served by Qatar’s fleet of Boeing 777-300 aircraft, while the additional New York JFK service will be operated on an Airbus A1350. Both aircraft types feature Qatar’s QSuite fully-enclosed Business Class seat.
“Our deep commitment to strengthening our network in the incredibly important U.S. market has been underscored since the onset of the pandemic as we continually analyse where we can resume flights, add frequencies and launch new destinations,” commented Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
But while Al Baker remains bullish, Qatar’s U.S. route network still remains smaller than regional rival Emirates. The Dubai-based airline continues to fly to 14 points in the U.S., including service between Athens and Newark and Milan to New York JFK.
Emirates has decided to remove its Airbus A380 from U.S. schedules for the entire winter season, citing a lack of demand for the superjumbo. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, says the variety of aircraft in its fleet means it can operate to more destinations by matching demand to aircraft type.
There’s still no word, however, whether a recent incident at Doha’s Hamad International Airport may have had an impact on Qatar’s forward bookings. The incident, which started a diplomatic spat with Australia, started after an abandoned newborn baby was found in a trash can in a lavatory in the airport terminal.
During the initial investigation, some officials apparently went rogue and ordered at least 13 women off at least 10 separate flights. The women were then escorted to a waiting ambulance and ordered to strip for a vaginal exam in an attempt to detect recent signs of childbirth.
Preliminary findings from a major investigation into the incident resulted in criminal charges being brought before the public prosecutor’s office for consideration against some of the officials who ordered the strip searches. A full investigation is still underway.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.