[ Routes ]October 9, 2020 4:30 am ET
By Jace Moseley
Qatar Airways Launches San Francisco Flights
As many airlines across the world cancel long-haul flying due to low demand, Qatar Airways has decided to launch a new long-haul flight to the United States. The Doha-based carrier announced its intentions to start yet another flight this year, further expanding its global network.
Qatar Airways announced that it would be starting service to San Francisco International Airport on Dec. 15 of this year. The route, from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, will operate four times a week at launch. As of publishing, the route is only scheduled through March 27, 2021, but could be extended with further schedule releases.
Flights will leave Doha at 8:15 a.m. local time and arrive in San Francisco at 12:25 p.m. local time. The return will leave two hours later and arrive back to Doha at 5:15 p.m. the following day. The carrier will operate the flights on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays.
The airline will operate its Airbus A350-900 aircraft on the 8,000 plus mile route. Qatar’s A350-900s feature 36 QSuite business class seats and 247 economy seats laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration. On top of passenger capacity, the carrier will also benefit from the ability to haul extra freight on the aircraft, increasing revenue at a time where it is scarce.
In a press release, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, said, “We are thrilled to welcome San Francisco as our newest destination, and our ninth current gateway in the U.S. As we navigate the crisis, we have made it a priority to not only reinstate our existing destinations and be the airline travelers can rely on, but to also grow our network and increase connectivity with new and relevant destinations for our customers to enjoy.
In December, Qatar will operate 55 flights per week to nine destinations in the United States including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
The new route announcement comes weeks after fellow Middle East carrier Emirates announced intentions to not return to San Francisco during the Northern Hemisphere winter season. Emirates is currently scheduled to resume flying to San Francisco on March 28, 2021.
While Qatar will not be a direct replacement for Emirates, it will give passengers traveling to the Middle East and beyond another convenient option for their travels. When Emirates does return, it remains to be seen how the two airlines will handle competing for a very similar market. Emirates is the more established airline in San Francisco, but Qatar could benefit from future OneWorld partner, Alaska Airlines having a sizable hub at San Francisco.