Qatar Airways' maiden voyage to Miami International Airport (MIA) touched down today, commencing service to the airline's sixth US gateway.
The service marked its 142nd destination worldwide from the central hub in Doha, Qatar.
With this new route, Qatar Airways is the only airline to offer non-stop service between the Middle East and Miami, Florida.
Today's launch continues a major expansion by the airline into the United States. Non-stop service to Philadelphia International Airport began in April, and the airline will commence flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in July.
The airline's CEO was onboard the maiden flight and led a high level delegation, including the Director of MIA, Emilio Gonzalez; the Vice Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, senior officials from the airline and also a group of international media travelling on the first flight.
"Miami is an essential destination in our expanding global network," said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker.
"Our aim is to bring the world closer together through a five-star unparalleled aviation experience, and we are particularly pleased that Florida is now being served from the Middle East market."
With Doha's centralized location, travelers from Miami can reach cities such as Bangkok, Nairobi, Colombo, and Mumbai in an impressive 23 hours or less through a quick transfer in Doha.
The airline recently moved its entire operations to the State of Qatar's new airport – Hamad International – an architectural marvel – 60 percent of which is built on reclaimed land.
From one major hub to another, Miami International Airport is one of the largest in the United States, handling over 40.5 million passengers in 2013. It is the country's second busiest airport for international travel and the busiest for international freight.
"At Qatar Airways we take great pride in connecting with the communities we serve, both in the air and on the ground," said Mr. Al Baker. "At Qatar Airways we take great pride in connecting with the communities we serve, both in the air and on the ground," said Mr. Al Baker. "We look forward to working with local government and businesses and are pleased to announce that this new route is expected to generate 536 new jobs and $78.3 million in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding community."
"Attracting a premier international carrier like Qatar is in line with our strategic plan to establish new routes in underserved international markets," said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. Gonzalez. "We proudly celebrate Qatar Airways' launch at MIA, which is without a doubt another major milestone in our airport's long history. Weekly flights from Doha establish a direct connection between Miami and one of the strongest economies in the world, with service by one of the most acclaimed airlines in the world. Qatar's extensive network within the Middle East, East Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Western Australia connects MIA to markets we have yet to penetrate until now. As Qatar Airways' sixth destination in the U.S. and its only service to the Southeast U.S., we gladly welcome this game-changing new route for MIA."
Qatar Airways' Doha to Miami route is being operated with a Boeing 777-200 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 and is currently flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to more than 140 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
Miami is known for year-round sunshine and beautiful beaches. From museums, art galleries and shopping to wildlife parks and a vibrant dining and entertainment scene, the activities are endless. Cultural attractions also include the Art Basel in Miami Beach, which is attended by over 50,000 visitors every year, while sports lovers can watch the Miami Heat (NBA), Miami Dolphins (NFL), and the Miami Marlins (MLB).
Miami joins the airline's existing Americas destinations: Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during the coming months, including Tokyo Haneda, Japan (June 18), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1) and Djibouti (July 27).
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