Following the launch of its new daily non-stop service from Doha to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Qatar Airways has announced it plans to expand to other US destinations.
The Doha-based carrier launched its new service to the US amid the ongoing dispute between Gulf carriers and the US airlines. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have claimed “unfair competition” from Gulf airlines is impacting on their business, saying the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar AIrways are being supported by government subsidies - a claim strongly denied.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, speaking at the launch of the LAX service, said the airline plans to expand further into the US.
“Los Angeles is one of the great centres of world aviation and will become a vital component in our expanding global network,” said Al Baker. “We look forward to introducing ‘Angelenos’ to our award-winning signature service, with access to more than 150 destinations around the world, through our central hub in Doha.”
The Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, said the new flight will bring an additional boost to the local economy.
“I’m pleased to welcome Qatar Airways’ new service between LAX and Doha. This new international flight will add more than $600 million to our economy, boost our growing tourism sector, and support thousands of new jobs for Angelenos. It’s exciting to see LAX take yet another step forward as it continues to extend its reach across the globe,” he said.
Al Baker also spoke about the increased cargo capacity made available by the new Los Angeles service, with a fourth weekly freighter to serve LAX starting January 19.
Following the press conference, Qatar Airways hosted a celebratory launch gala at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, which featured a performance by global superstar Mariah Carey.
LA is the eighth US destination for Qatar Airways, and the airline will launch new services later this year to Boston (March 16) and Atlanta (June 1), as well as a second daily flight to New York's JFK Airport in April.
In addition to new routes, the airline has brought the new Airbus A350 XWB to the States, where it now flies a daily, non-stop service to and from Philadelphia (PHL). The A350s will also serve the Philadelphia and Boston routes and the second JFK flight.
During an interview with US media last month, Al Baker said he has two other US destinations in mind where the airline planned to expand into, but didn’t name them.
The company will also open a new flagship office at New York’s Empire State Building.