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Chicago, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Chicago touched down at O’Hare International Airport yesterday marking the airline’s fourth gateway in the United States.
With the launch of thrice-weekly passenger services between The Windy City and Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, Chicago becomes destination number 126 in the airline’s impressive worldwide network.
Qatar Airways now operates 24 passenger flights a week between the United States and Doha – daily from New York, Washington DC and Houston and the new thrice-weekly services from Chicago.
Effective June 15, the Chicago – Doha route will increase to a daily service. Qatar Airways also operates twice-weekly dedicated cargo flights between the two cities, launched in August 2010.
Flight QR991 arrived to a warm welcome at a grand airport ceremony attended by a number of dignitaries, including Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States of America His Excellency Mr. Mohamad Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker and airport officials.
The maiden flight carried international media and airline management. The new route offers a connection between Chicago and a vast number of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia Pacific via Doha.
Al Baker and Chicago airport authorities delivered speeches at O’Hare International to mark the occasion, noting the economic impact of Qatar Airways’ arrival in the city.
“I would like to take this special opportunity to thank the people of Chicago and local airport authorities for their great support in helping Qatar Airways launch passenger flights to this vibrant city,” said Al Baker.
“After more than five successful years of operations in North America, we are pleased to introduce Chicago as our fourth and newest US gateway and look forward to welcoming travellers from the Midwest and its catchment area to fly with us to many parts of the world and, similarly welcome visitors from around the world to this great city.
Pic 1: Qatar Airways' inaugural passenger flight from Doha to Chicago is welcomed by a traditional water salute at O'Hare International Airport
Pic 2: Commissioner for Chicago Department of Aviation, Rosemarie Andolino (left) is presented with a crystal oryx commemorative gift by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker at an airport ceremony after the arrival of Qatar Airways' inaugural passenger flight to Chicago
“Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike, home to the world’s second busiest international airport with 70 million passengers a year.
“Qatar Airways was first introduced to the city in 2010 through its successful cargo operations, which helped set the stage for a longer term partnership with this thriving city.
“With the local tourism industry receiving 50 million visitors annually and Chicago being the headquarters of some of the world’s biggest corporates, including Boeing, there are many business opportunities linking our two cities and regions.
“Qatar Airways today spreads its reach in North America and we are proud to say that our commitments here will continue,” added Al Baker.
City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a congratulatory message to Qatar Airways, commenting: “Chicago is pleased to welcome Qatar Airways’ world-class service to our global gateway, O’Hare International Airport. This new international air service creates additional economic opportunities, increases tourism to our city and strengthens Chicago’s cultural and business connection to the world.
“This service will generate more than $200 million in annual economic impact and will connect passengers from Chicago to destinations across India, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”
Aside from Chicago, New York, Washington and Houston, Qatar Airways’ North American operations cover thrice-weekly services to Montreal.
Al Baker explained that Chicago marked yet another significant milestone for the airline which is expanding its global network at a remarkable pace.
Qatar Airways’ Doha – Chicago route is being operated with a Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft in a two-class configuration of 293 seats in Economy Class and 42 in Business Class.
The aircraft features seatback TV screens providing all passengers in both cabins with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system – a choice of more than 1,000 audio and video-on-demand options.
One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 122 aircraft to 126 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during 2013, including Salalah, Oman (May 22); Basra, Iraq (June 3), Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3) and many more start-ups to be announced.
Pic 3: CEO of Choose Chicago, Don Welsh, welcomes Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker to the city of Chicago.
Pic 4: Pictured from left during an airport ceremony at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are: Commissioner for Chicago Department of Aviation, Rosemarie Andolino; Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker; State of Qatar's Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Mr. Mohamad Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi; and CEO of Choose Chicago, Don Welsh, after the arrival of Qatar Airways' inaugural passenger flight to Chicago.
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In October 2012, Qatar Airways became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com
For further information
Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department
Tel: +974 44302072, Fax: +974 44302069