Why Qatar Airways Brought Its Seattle Launch Forward

Qatar Airways launched its inaugural flight to Seattle from Doha today with its Boeing 777 aircraft. This service was supposed to begin in the middle of March, but the flag carrier of Qatar brought forward the date forward. Qatar Airways SVP of Revenue Management, Alliances and Strategy, Mark Drusch spoke to Simple Flying about the decision behind this move and what we can expect with these operations.

Qatar Airways Seattle
There is a lot to look forward to with this launch. Photo: Qatar Airways

The day has come

This first flight had left Doha just after 08:00 this morning and is due to arrive in Seattle at approximately 11:20 (all times are local).

Services will occur four times a week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday. The schedule is as follows:

  • Doha (DOH) to Seattle (SEA) QR719 departs: 08:00 arrives: 11:20
  • Seattle (SEA) to Doha (DOH) QR720 departs: 16:05 arrives: 17:15+1

Qatar Airways first announced the launch to Seattle amid the news that Alaska Airlines is joining oneworld. The two operators have expressed their excitement about partnering together amid the move. Drusch explains that Alaska has been great to work with. Therefore, his team is looking forward to taking things to the next level.

He highlights that like his own airline, Alaska, is well-managed and known for its customer service. So, their brand standards and our brand goals fit well with each other.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777
Qatar Airways will be heading west more frequently. Photo: Getty Images

Recognizing opportunity

Qatar did not wait when Alaska officially joins the alliance in March. Instead, the company thought it would be best to jump on the momentum going for it across the United States.

“We’ve seen incredible success in San Francisco, which you know we launched in December, actually, outperformed our expectations, and number two, we had progressed our partnership discussions with Alaska to the point that we felt very confident that it was the right time to start Seattle. Seattle is just a piece of it. We are adding, actually, a significant amount of additional US capacity over the next few months, again, based on the strength of the market and the partnerships we have,” Drusch told Simple Flying.

“So, it’s those two things: the strength of our new market in San Francisco and the partnership added to it, and the fact that, overall, we’ve been very successful in the US all during COVID. We never shut down the US at all. And I think at our lowest point, we had three and a half flights a day or something like that. So, the US has been particularly good for us.”

Alaska Getty
Both Qatar Airways and Alaska Airlines have been vocal about the advantages of their partnership. Photo: Getty Images

Plenty of options

Overall, part of Qatar Airways’ strategy in the United States is to have the best coverage of any foreign flight carrier in the country. The carrier already partners well at major hubs on the East Coast with JetBlue and American Airlines. Now, it has the largest West Coast carrier as a partner in Alaska.

The partnership also gives significant benefits to Alaska Airlines and its passengers across the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest. It gives them unparalleled access to the Middle East, the Levant, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and even all the way to South East Asia. Undoubtedly, Qatar Airways’ strong global network will open up plenty of opportunities following these expansions across the United States.

What are your thoughts about Qatar Airways’ launch to Seattle today? Will you fly with the carrier to the city? Let us know what you think of these operations in the comment section.