Qatar Airways‘ (Doha) inaugural flight to Philadelphia touched down at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) yesterday morning (April 2) marking the airline’s fifth gateway in the United States.
With the launch of the daily service between Philadelphia and Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, the city becomes destination number 137 in the airline’s expanding worldwide network.
Qatar Airways now operates 35 passenger flights a week between the United States and Doha – daily from New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Flight QR 727 arrived to a warm welcome at a grand airport ceremony attended by a number of dignitaries, including Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael A. Nutter, and Chief Executive Officer of Philadelphia International Airport, Mark Gale.
The maiden flight carried international media and airline management, including Mr. Al Baker. The new route offers a connection between Philadelphia and a vast number of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia Pacific via Doha, while the morning departure time from Philadelphia offers US passengers a unique opportunity to access an entirely new schedule of connecting flights out of Doha.
Mr. Al Baker and Philadelphia airport authorities delivered speeches at Philadelphia International Airport 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 Philadelphia and local airport authorities for their great support in helping Qatar Airways launch passenger flights to this vibrant city,” said Mr. Al Baker.
“Today, Philadelphia joins our existing North American hubs: Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Houston and Montreal,” continued Al Baker. “But only our newest gateway offers a unique, morning route to Doha, our earliest departure from North America, and provides passengers with unprecedented access to a new schedule of convenient connections to our entire global network.”
Philadelphia is a key destination for business and leisure travelers alike. One of the world’s busiest airports, it sees 30.5 million passengers a year.
“Our 5-star service begins by forging a connection with the communities we serve and we appreciate the opportunity to work together with this great city,” added Mr. Al Baker.
Mr. Al Baker explained that Philadelphia marked yet another significant milestone for the airline, which is expanding its global network at a remarkable pace.
Qatar Airways’ Doha to Philadelphia route is being operated with a Boeing 777-200LR in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business and 217 seats in Economy. The aircraft offers seatback TV screens providing passengers with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system and a choice of more than 1,000 audio and video options.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 131 aircraft to more than 130 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during the coming months, including Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29), Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Turkey (May 22), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28), Miami, USA (June 10), Haneda, Japan (June 18), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1) and Djibouti (July 27).
In other news, Qatar Airways has begun the rollout of QLOUD, an internally developed mobility application for iPads, which will provide real time and decision-relevant information to the airline’s pilots. Over 500 pilots have already embraced the new technology with 500 more set to begin using QLOUD over the next few weeks. All 2,500 Qatar Airways pilots are expected to be using the QLOUD system by September this year.
Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways. A traditional water salute welcomes Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight at the Philadelphia International Airport on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.