Qatar Airways recently announced an expansion of its USA route network with the introduction of daily passenger flights to Chicago from April 10 next year.
The non-stop service from Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, will be the carrier’s fourth USA gateway, following already successful daily operations to New York (JFK), Washington (IAD) and Houston (IAH).
The carrier, which already operates twice-weekly cargo flights to Chicago O’Hare, will use its flagship long-haul Boeing 777-300 Extended Range passenger aircraft on the Doha – Chicago route with an approximate flying time of 15 hours.
This announcement follows this summer’s fifth anniversary launch celebrations of both the New York and Washington, D.C., services.
Qatar Airways’ expansion to Chicago O’Hare, the world’s second busiest airport handling 70 million passengers a year, has long been earmarked by the airline as a key traffic route that would appeal to travellers from across its passenger network.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “As Qatar Airways continues its aggressive expansion, we are pleased to finally offer another gateway in the United States, this time to the ‘The Windy City’ of Chicago, five years after we began operations to North America.
“Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike, connecting them from destinations across India, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific with a one-stop service via Doha to the Midwest.
“For the people of Chicago and the Midwest, we look forward to offering a great travel experience on the world’s best airline to cities across our network with one-stop convenience through our Doha hub.
“Our onboard experience is distinct and provides an unparalleled commitment to service quality, reinforced by the recent accolade from Skytrax, naming Qatar Airways the world’s best airline for the second consecutive year,” added Al Baker.
Chicago has a population of nearly three million people, attracting millions of tourists and business travellers every year.
For tourists visiting Chicago, attractions include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Architectural River Cruise and the iconic Willis Tower – the tallest building in North America.
Chicago is also home to a huge sports industry with well known teams – Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox – covering a variety of different sports attracting travelling fans from around the world.
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 aircraft operating on the Chicago route will feature 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 Business Class seats and 293 in Economy.
Business Class, configured in a spacious 2–2–2 layout, features seats that convert into fully-flat horizontal beds, 17 inch individual TV monitors and an award-winning dining experience.
The airline’s Economy Class has the most generous leg room of any long-haul aircraft flying today with a seat pitch of up to 34 inches and seating in a 3–3–3 configuration.
Regardless of class of travel, every passenger has a wide choice of personal inflight entertainment options through their audio video entertainment system of over 1,000 programmes and movies.
Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 110 aircraft to 118 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of the year, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan), Tbilisi (Georgia), Kigali (Rwanda), Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia) and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) with many more destinations planned during 2012.
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Yangon, Myanmar (October 3); Maputo, Mozambique (October 31); and a date yet-to-be-announced to the Serbian capital Belgrade.