By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A five-star international airline, regularly recognized as one of the best in the world, officially began non-stop service to Philadelphia today.
Qatar Airways is the flag carrier for the oil rich nation of Qatar, and the airline is rapidly expanding. The company says in addition to its current fleet, it also has 300 planes on order worth more than $50-billion.
Philadelphia International Airport CEO Mark Gale says Qatar Airways is the first foreign flag carrier to enter Philadelphia in over a decade.
“This is a huge deal for us,” Gale said. “Tied with the merger of US Airways and American Airlines and this airport becoming a One World Alliance Hub, an East Coast gateway. We think there’s just a tremendous amount of positive impact.”
Known for its attention to detail, gourmet meals, a TV screen at every seat, hundreds of channels of entertainment, and roomy accommodations, the direct flight to Doha opens up Philadelphia to Qatar’s 136 destinations worldwide, especially the Mideast, Africa and Asia.
With an agreement between airlines, US Air or American passengers can get a single combined ticket for Qatar and US Air operated connections, and they can also earn and redeem frequent flier miles on Qatar flights.