By Perry Cooper.
Photo credit: Qatar Airways. https://www.qatarairways.com/en-us/media-newsroom.html
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) welcomes today’s announcement of an award-winning new airline bringing the first connection to a new international city, with Qatar Airways starting service to Doha (DOH) beginning March 15, 2021. The new service will provide connections to additional destinations including 13 cities in India and 20 in Africa as well as linkage to upcoming oneworld alliance member Alaska Airlines. The new service will also highlight the Port of Seattle’s investment in the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) scheduled to open in 2021.
“This commitment by Qatar Airways, despite the current situation with the pandemic, is a testament to how the world views the long-term strength and resiliency of the Puget Sound region,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “This also supports the Port’s decision to continue to invest in projects such as the IAF and North Satellite Modernization to provide a better experience for travelers from around the world.”
The four times a week nonstop service to Doha will operate using an Airbus A350-900, one of the world’s quietest and most environmentally friendly aircraft. The plane features 247 economy class seats and 36 of Qatar’s award-winning “QSuites” in business class – the most spacious (and socially distant) business-class product of any airline. Qatar Airways has been rated a Skytrax 5 Star airline for the past 20 years and was ranked as the World’s Best Airline by Skytrax in 2019.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is committed to enhancing connectivity within the U.S. market, and the launch of flights to Seattle, our second new U.S. destination since the onset of the pandemic, epitomizes this commitment. We are excited to welcome Washington State’s largest city as our seventh new destination announced this year, and our eleventh U.S. gateway, surpassing the number of destinations we operated in the U.S. pre-COVID19. Home to a large tech industry and a portal of innovation, Seattle is a destination that is internationally renowned for business and leisure travel.”
With Alaska Airlines’ upcoming entry into the oneworld alliance in 2021, Alaska Mileage Plan members will be able to earn and redeem frequent flier miles on Qatar’s entire network.
“We’re thrilled to be joining the oneworld alliance and to begin this new partnership with an outstanding airline like Qatar Airways,” said Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO. “As more of us resume international air travel next year, we are excited to offer our guests new nonstop service on Qatar from Seattle to Doha, in addition to service to Doha from our hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This partnership opens up tremendous destinations around the world and amazing opportunities for our guests.”
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is making significant investments to make international travel through SEA more efficient and representative of our region. The new International Arrivals Facility, the largest and most complex capital project in the airport’s history, creating an expanded and enhanced experience to meet the growing regional demand for international travel.
The new flight will operate weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
|DOH to SEA||QR719||8:00 a.m.||12:20 p.m.|
|SEA to DOH||QR720||5:05 p.m.||5:15 p.m. +1|
Both SEA and DOH are leaders in ensuring passenger health and safety. SEA has developed FlyHealthy@SEA, a layered, comprehensive action plan to respond to the pandemic that led to SEA being the first West Coast airport to achieve a Global Health Accreditation from Airports Council International. Hamad International Airport is the first airport in Asia or the Middle East to receive a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating from Skytrax.
The International Arrivals Facility, scheduled to begin serving passengers in spring 2021, welcomes travelers into a dramatically more spacious processing and baggage claim area.
International Service at SEA
“Safely restoring international travel is a key component of our plan to lead an equitable recovery,” said Lance Lyttle, SEA Airport Managing Director. “International travelers are very important to the economic vitality of our region. As one of the largest job sites in King County, workers at the airport and in regional travel and hospitality industries depend upon the return of air travel to keep their jobs.”
Travel and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by job loss and slowest to recover during the pandemic.
SEA’s international flights are slowly returning but remain hampered by travel restrictions. Sixteen of the 42 international flights that served SEA in 2019 are currently flying at various frequencies (Seoul – Asian, Delta, Korean; Shanghai – Delta; Taipei – EVA; Tokyo – Delta; Vancouver – Air Canada, Alaska, Delta; Cancun, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta – Alaska; Guadalajara – Volaris; Amsterdam – Delta; Frankfurt – Lufthansa; London – British Airways).