July 01, 2007

The booming of Air travel to and from the Middle East

Air travel to and from the Middle East is booming as oil profits spur construction and tourism in areas not ravaged by war and political turmoil, as move from Qatar Airways into Newark is part of a larger trend.

Qatar Airways, which has 58 aircraft and aims to double the fleet by 2015, already flies to 76 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia from its Doha hub. The airline, which is 50 percent state-owned, will add non-stop flights between Doha and Washington, D.C., on July 19.

In Tuesday evening, the national airline of the Persian Gulf sheikdom of Qatar, has arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport for the first time from the tiny nation's capital of Doha, after a stop in Geneva.

"Yesterday was one of the happiest days for my ruler," Akbar al-Baker, Qatar Airways' chief executive officer, said in a news conference Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. "We want to bridge the Mideast with the United States."

iAl-Baker announced Wednesday a "code share" marketing agreement with United Airlines, which, if approved by U.S. regulators, will give Qatar Airways customers single-ticket access to flights to more than 50 cities in the United States from United's hub in Washington.

He also said the Newark route will be expanded to daily service by the end of next year.

The International Air Transport Association said that in the first four months of the year international traffic on Middle Eastern airlines grew 17.9 percent, compared with North American carriers' 5.4 percent and Europe's 6 percent.

Read the news release of this article's at Mideast carrier begins service to N.J. by Richard Newman

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