American Airlines and Qatar Airways report that they are exploring the addition of new service between the United States and Doha, Qatar Airways’ hub airport. The move is part of a renewed codeshare agreement between the two carriers.
American Airlines and Qatar Airways, both of whom are partners in the oneworld alliance, had cancelled their existing agreement in 2017. According to CNBC, at that time Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said during an event in Europe “There is no need to travel on those crap American carriers,” before offering to buy up to 10 percent of American. American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker rejected the offer, and the two airlines cancelled their codeshare soon after.
“The issues that led to the suspension of our partnership two years ago have been addressed, and we believe resuming our codeshare agreement will allow us to provide service to markets that our customers, team members and shareholders value, including new growth opportunities for American Airlines,” Parker said in a statement announcing the renewed codeshare agreement. “We look forward to the renewed cooperation between our airlines and hope to build an even stronger relationship with Qatar Airways over time.”
As part of the renewed codeshare (and pending government approvals), American will place its code on select Qatar Airways nonstop and connecting services to and from the U.S. and Qatar Airways' hub in Doha, allowing American’s customers to access new destinations in the Middle East, East Africa, South Asia and South East Asia that are not currently served by American. Qatar Airways will place its code on select flights beyond American’s hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX), as well as on American’s international flights to and from Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha, Hamad International Airport, is relatively new, having opened for passenger service in 2014. Two years later the airport became the 50th-busiest in the world by passenger traffic, serving over 37 million travelers annually. By 2019, that number had grown to 38.8 million. The airport is set to expand further with an extended check-in area, and enlargement of concourses D and E into a single concourse, a new passenger amenity complex, and an extension of the Doha Metro to the airport that is scheduled to open in time for the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar.
In addition to the new service between the United States and Doha, the two airlines said that they will also discuss new ways to expand commercial cooperation to enable long-haul growth.
American Airlines offers customers 6,800 daily flights to more than 365 destinations in 61 countries from its hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., serving more than 2 million customers annually. Qatar Airways operates a fleet of more than 250 aircraft, and it plans to add Osaka, Japan; Santorini, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan; Accra, Ghana; Cebu, Philippines; Lyon, France; Trabzon, Turkey; Siem Reap, Cambodia and Luanda, Angola to its route network this year.