June 12--A day after the first flight from Doha arrived in Miami, the CEO of Qatar Airways listed a host of reasons why his airline chose the destination as its sixth in the United States.
Akbar Al Baker said there was demand in Miami for a five-star international airline, and no competition yet from other carriers in the Middle East. Miami holds great tourism appeal to travelers from the Persian Gulf, and the opportunity for travelers to take Caribbean cruises was also appealing, he said.
"We want to open a new gateway to the Caribbean via Miami for passengers from our region to come and sample this new unexplored destination," Al Baker said.
He spoke at the St. Regis Bal Harbour -- purchased earlier this year by a firm from Qatar -- at a press conference with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez.
Gimenez and Gonzalez hailed the new service as progress for the county and airport's strategic growth plans.
"This is yet another step toward enhancing our position as a global commercial and cultural gateway," Gimenez said.
Al Baker said newcomers to his airline would be impressed by the level of customer service and amenities on the planes. He emphasized the 134-aircraft fleet's youth -- planes are an average of 4 years and two months old -- as well as the age of the airline's flight attendants.
Answering a question about what would be one of the most exciting things about traveling on a Qatar Airways flight, Al Baker said: "To receive unprecedented hospitality, comfort and in-flight service with stewardesses [whose] average age is only 28 years old. You got the message?"
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