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Qatar Airways Fields New Airbus A350 Fleet For US Expansion; CEO Hits Back At US Rivals Claims

Dec 11, 2015 10:44 PM EST | By Jason Fonbuena
Airbus A350, Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways Airbus A350
(Photo : Qatar Airways Facebook Page)

Qatar Airways became the first airline to fly the new Airbus A350 passenger jet to the US as it announced plans to expand in the country.

In a statement, the airline said an A350 took off on a ferry flight from Doha's Hamad International Airport to New York's JFK International earlier this week.

According to Business Insider, the airline currently flies to 152 destinations which includes New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

QA said it will be adding more US cities to its network in 2016.

"The airline plans to open routs from Doha to Los Angeles in January, Boston in March and Atlanta in June," BI said.

Amidst the planned expansion, Qatar Airways has come under fire from three US-based airlines - United, American and Delta.

"They argue that the Gulf airlines have an unfair advantage because they are subsidized by their governments," USA Today said.

QA CEO Akbar Al Baker responded to the complaints, focusing on Delta CEO Richard Anderson's comments.

"I think that this is only baloney. It's nonsense," Al Baker told the publication. "And it is just to protect his backside so he can swindle American passengers more and more, reduce capacity, and keep on increasing his market share."

The US carriers have reportedly asked federal authorities to limit flights of the Gulf carriers.

Citing the International Air Transport Association, Al Baker said US carriers are still more lucrative than other international airlines.

Earlier this week, he told Bloomberg News that government subsidies his airline receives is "an equity in a business that is owned by the government."

Qatar Airways' Airbus A350 can seat up to 283 passengers in Business and Economy class. Skytrax's Airline of the Year for 2015 currently has seven of the passenger jet in its fleet. The eighth is set to before the year's end and will fly daily to Philadelphia next month.

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