Qatar Airways now flies over 100 times a week to 12 destinations in the United States. The flag carrier of Qatar services more gateways in the US than before the pandemic. With this momentum, the airline’s SVP of Revenue Management, Alliances and Strategy, Mark Drusch, spoke exclusively with Simple Flying about the value of his company’s partnerships with American carriers.
Covering all angles
The airline proudly added San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA) to its network recently. These airports join Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Atlanta (ATL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), and Washington (IAD) under the operator’s belt. Nevertheless, the company’s robust US holding isn’t only because of this expansive portfolio of airports. Partnerships have been critical during the growth.
Drusch explains that Qatar Airways and its partners have a deeper penetration of the American market than competing alliances do because the likes of Star and SkyTeam have only one US carrier in each of their groups. On the other hand, Qatar has three major US carriers as partners.
The link with oneworld founding member American Airlines gives the Doha-based carrier great general connectivity across the US. This factor is backed by two other recent breakthroughs. The codeshare partnership expansion with JetBlue has given Qatar Airways a greater presence across the East Coast. Meanwhile, the addition of Alaska Airlines as a oneworld member has done wonders for Qatar’s opportunities on the West Coast.
Altogether, the Middle Eastern carrier and its partners now have much better access to markets in the United States than its rivals. The carrier isn’t taking this factor for granted, realizing the benefits by the day. Notably, with the pandemic forcing restrictions and several international airlines still largely grounding their fleets, travelers are relying heavily on the likes of Qatar Airways and its partnerships to get to their destinations.
“With the frequencies that we’ve added in our partnerships, we offer customers the most opportunity, the most convenience, and the most coverage of the US market, of any alliance, full stop. Not even close. So, it’s fantastic in that regard,” Drusch told Simple Flying.
“With Alaska, we went to daily in Seattle very quickly. That was really because of the incredible partnership with the Alaska guys. We have seen such strong support out of Seattle with the Alaska team.
“It’s not just what you would think is the usual stuff like Portland or Sacramento or any of those markets. We’re getting people from Fairbanks to Perth. I guarantee you that nobody would have expected when we were doing the forecast that we would carry a measurably important number of people from Fairbanks to Perth. It is brilliant.”
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On the same page
Qatar Airways values its partnership with Alaska. The two airlines have similarities when it comes to customer experience, with both having a vocal passenger base that often praises the pair for their offerings.
Drusch expresses that Alaska has been great to work with and while he knew of Alaska’s positive reputation before, he has truly felt it since partnering. He explains that the loyalty and commitment between Alaska and its customer base are shared with Qatar because the customer trusts Alaska so much.
Altogether, Drusch concludes that he can’t say enough about his company’s US partnerships. They are all individually crucial to the operator’s success in North America.
What are your thoughts about Qatar Airways’ US partnerships? What do you make of the prospects of these connections? Let us know what you think in the comment section.