Qatar Airways’ new Chicago Flights ‘worth $200m annually’

City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the service will generate more than $200 million in economic benefits annually

Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Chicago touched down at O’Hare International Airport yesterday, marking the airline’s fourth US gateway.

The airline is operating thrice-weekly passengers services (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) from Doha and from June 15, it will increase to a daily service.

The route is being operated by a two-class, Boeing 777-300ER aircraft – although it was due to be operated by one of its B787 Dreamliners before they were grounded.

City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the service will generate more than $200 million in “annual economic impact” and will connect passengers from Chicago to destinations across India, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said it look forward to welcoming travellers from the Midwest catchment area to fly on its network. Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike, home to the world’s second busiest international airport with 70 million passengers a year.

Qatar Airways has been operating twice-weekly cargo flights between the two cities since August 2010.