Qatar Airways relaunches Atlanta flights

Qatar Airways relaunched flights to Atlanta on June 1, 2021, in a recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.
Qatar Airways relaunched flights to Atlanta on June 1, 2021, in a recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Qatar Airways restarted flights to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Tuesday, marking another step in the gradual recovery of international travel.

After a 14-month hiatus because of the pandemic, the airline will resume its route from Atlanta to its Doha hub with four flights a week on Airbus A350 jets. When the first plane arrived late Tuesday afternoon, it was greeted with a water cannon salute.

Qatar Airways relaunched flights to Atlanta on June 1, 2021, in a recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.
Qatar Airways relaunched flights to Atlanta on June 1, 2021, in a recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

“There’s pent-up demand, definitely,” said Eric Odone, Qatar Airways vice president of sales for the Americas. Qatar has been operating flights to other U.S. cities during the coronavirus pandemic, and Atlanta is its 12th destination in the United States.

Most of the passengers during the pandemic are luxury leisure travelers and expatriates traveling back to their home countries, with corporate travel still slow to recover, according to Odone. Qatar’s hub is in Doha, and many travelers fly there to connect to other places around the globe. From Atlanta, travelers are headed to places like Egypt, Kenya, Dubai, South Africa and Nigeria, Odone said.

Those who take flights between Qatar and the United States must present negative COVID-19 test results, and masks are required in coach class.

Aside from Qatar Airways, other foreign carriers — including Air France, KLM, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Turkish Airlines — have resumed operating flights to Atlanta. German carrier Lufthansa is restarting service.

The bulk of the flights at Hartsfield-Jackson are domestic. Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier in Atlanta, is operating hundreds of domestic flights a day as well as some routes to Europe, Mexico and South America and more than 20 destinations in the Caribbean.

Canadian carriers Air Canada and WestJet have not yet resumed service to Atlanta.

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