Onsite: Qatar Airways Launches U.S. Service

NEW YORK-Qatar Airways on Wednesday announced it had begun service to the United States with four flights per week to Newark Liberty International Airport from Doha, Qatar's capital. Starting July 19, Qatar will extend its U.S. operations with non-stop flights to Washington, D.C. The new service bumps Qatar Airways' network of international destinations to 77. Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker said that Americans still aren't familiar with Qatar, but new destinations and an ever-increasing fleet would help distinguish it as a sought-after region for both business and leisure travelers. "We want to bridge the Middle East with the U.S.," Al Baker said. Qatar hopes to bring in 1.5 million tourists by the next decade and Qatar Airways should help to attract them. The five-star carrier has been lauded for its first- and business-class amenities, which include flat beds and live TV (it is the only carrier outside the U.S. to have this feature). Moreover, the airline maintains a lavish first- and business-class terminal at Doha International Airport, which boasts a spa with saunas and Jacuzzis, a restaurant with complimentary food, a nursery, even bedrooms for travelers with longer layovers. Qatar is currently building a new terminal at the new Doha International Airport set to open in 2010. In addition to adding new U.S. routes, Qatar Airways is also adding nine others this year including Stockholm and Geneva (the latter is the stop-over point for flights to Newark). The airline, which launched in 1994, recently ordered 80 Airbus A350 aircrafts totaling $16 billion and 22 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning in November. Qatar projects to have 115 total aircrafts in the fleet by 2015. Also on Wednesday, Qatar Airways announced it and United Airlines had filed a joint application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to place their codes on each other's flight, which will help expands its U.S. presence. Visit [www.qatarairways.com].