In international route developments, Qatar starts flying to its newest U.S. gateway; Emirates will take up the slack when United drops a Mideast route; JetBlue takes its code-sharing pact with Icelandair to the next level; Southwest schedules a new Costa Rica flight; and Alaska drops a Canada route.
Qatar Airways has inaugurated service on its newest U.S. route, beginning daily non-stops between Los Angeles International and Doha, Qatar with a 777-200. LAX departures are at 3:10 p.m., arriving in Doha at 6:10 p.m. the next day. It’s Qatar’s first step in an ambitious U.S. route expansion this year: The carrier plans to start new service to Boston on March 16 and to Atlanta on June 1. Qatar has also introduced the first Airbus A350 service to the U.S., putting the new aircraft onto its Philadelphia route this month. It plans to begin A350 service between New York and Doha in April.
Since United plans to eliminate its Washington Dulles-Dubai service on January 25, Emirates is moving in to fill the gap. (United had blamed government-subsidized overcapacity by Emirates and other Middle eastern carriers for its decision; it also ended Dulles-Kuwait/Bahrain service this week). Effective February 1, Emirates — which will then have a monopoly on Dulles-Dubai non-stops — plans to replace its 777-300ER on the route with an Airbus A380 super-jumbo offering 489 seats in three classes. Meanwhile, Emirates also said it will increase its Los Angeles-Dubai schedule starting July 1 with the addition of a second daily A380 non-stop.
JetBlue has had a code-sharing relationship with Icelandair for almost five years, but it’s been mostly a one-way affair, with Icelandair’s code going onto JetBlue flights but not the other way around. But that all changed this week: JetBlue said it is now putting its B6 code onto Icelandair’s flights into Reykjavik from New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Orlando and Washington Dulles. That means tickets to Iceland can now be booked directly with JetBlue, with single ticekting, one-stop check-in and automatic baggage transfers. “In the future, the B6 code will be placed on additional Icelandair routes between the U.S. and Reykjavik and on flights beyond Iceland to select destinations in Scandinavia and continental Europe,” JetBlue said.
Alaska Airlines has been flying between Los Angeles and Vancouver for 20 years, but that will end on June 3, when the carrier will discontinue the route, according to Airlineroute,.net. Alaska currently operates just one daily flight between LAX and Vancouver, although in recent years it had as many as six a day.
Southwest Airlines has set an April 12 start for its new international route from Los Angeles International to Liberia/Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Costa Rica. Through February 1, the carrier is offering introductory fares starting at $149 each way for travel April 12-May 25.
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