Qatar Airways axes Philadelphia route, adds another daily flight to JFK

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The speculation is over, and it’s official: Qatar Airways will cease operations between Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the airline confirmed, allowing Oneworld partner American Airlines to take over the route.

Instead, Qatar will shift that flight over to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), assuming the frequency that American itself originally relocated to PHL.

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Qatar will add the JFK frequency starting Oct. 30, while American will begin flying between DOH and PHL on Oct. 28.

American announced earlier this month that it was moving its splashy JFK-DOH route over to PHL, part of the aftermath of the airline’s Northeast Alliance with JetBlue coming to an end.

American has relatively poor connectivity to JFK, operating its hub there primarily to connect New York-originating passengers to its global network via partner hubs. Under the NEA, connectivity on partner airline JetBlue added enough that American thought it could support the route.

For Qatar, its own partnership with JetBlue, independent of Oneworld or the now-defunct NEA, is enough to support the new third-daily flight from JFK.

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The airline also said that it plans to expand its codeshare with Alaska Airlines in the coming weeks to increase its West Coast connectivity.

“Our unwavering commitment to our longstanding U.S. partners, American Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines is built on our mission to connect the world through our hub to our 160 destinations and more,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a press release. “We look forward to building more connections and uniting global passengers from across the world.”

Qatar will operate the New York flight with the same Boeing 777-300ER it used on the PHL route, which is equipped with the airline’s splashy Qsuite business-class product.

American, meanwhile, will assign its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its new route from PHL, outfitted with 30 reverse herringbone business-class pods, 21 premium economy recliners, 36 extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seats and 198 standard economy seats. It used a 777-300ER on the route from JFK before ending it, which featured the airline’s Flagship First product.