Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Qatar Airways to Chicago, April 2013

Qatar Airways, continuing its rapid, worldwide expansion by adding a fourth destination in the United States last month: Chicago O'Hare. The ultra-long range B777-300ER will ply the 13-hour route just three time per week until June, when the service will become daily, in time for the scorching season in both places. The move comes well-ahead, but presumably related to, Qatar's admission to the OneWorld alliance, which will involve greater coordination with American Airlines, which of course has a huge hub at ORD.

Qatar joins Etihad Airways as the second of the three fast-growing Gulf super-carrier to land at O'Hare. Now also a daily service, Etihad's extended range A340-500s have been descending over Lake Michigan since September 2009. Interestingly, this leaves Emirates, the mack-daddy of Middle Eastern mega-airlines, as the only one of the three rivals to not service the midwestern metropolis, despite serving smaller, secondary US hubs such as Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle for several years.

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