A month before the opening of the Atlanta airport’s new international terminal, Qatar Airways Ltd. announced plans to start or increase flights to U.S. cities including Atlanta.
The fast-growing Middle Eastern carrier plans to double its U.S. network within the next year, adding flights to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Detroit, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said at a conference in Montreal April 11, according to Bloomberg and other news services.
The expansion would’ve come sooner but was stalled by delayed delivery of 60 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which seat about 300 people, Bloomberg quoted Mr. Al Baker as saying.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport already receives twice-weekly cargo service from Qatar Airways. The flight began on Nov. 2 and is expected to add $12 million in annual economic impact to the regional economy.
The new terminal is focused on passengers, with the number of international travelers passing through Atlanta set to jump from just under 10 million last year to 13 million by 2013, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The terminal will help the airport assist existing carriers like Delta Air Lines Inc. with global route expansions, but it will also be beneficial for attracting new clients, said Steve Luben, director of new business development for Hartsfield.
“Other airlines have been very interested in Atlanta just because of its being economic capital of the South, and really it’s a great jumping off point for airlines coming over the Atlantic and Pacific to fan out to a hundred cities in the region,” Mr. Luben told GlobalAtlanta. “The terminal allows us certain expansion opportunities and we’ll definitely take advantage of all that including our incumbent carriers.”
Visit www.atlanta-airport.com for more information.