Qatar Airways touches down in Cardiff, the capital of Wales
The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, touched down today at Cardiff Airport, where it was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute and greeted by the Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan, Ms. Janice Charles. The new service will connect Cardiff to more than 150 business and leisure destinations worldwide.
On board the inaugural flight to Cardiff, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was joined by Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. Alun Cairns, The First Minister of Wales, Mr. Carwyn Jones, the United Kingdom Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Mr. Ajay Sharma and Chairman of Cardiff Airport, Mr. Roger Lewis.
To celebrate this special occasion, the award-winning airline flew its ultra-modern Airbus A350-900 to Cardiff, providing VIP guests the opportunity to experience the state-of-the-art aircraft. This was the first time a commercial passenger Airbus A350-900 aircraft, whose wings are built by Airbus in Wales, has landed on Welsh soil. Going forward, Qatar Airways will operate its daily Cardiff service with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which has a two-class configuration including 22 seats in Business Class offering passengers direct aisle access with its 1-2-1 configuration, as well as 232 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Today marks an especially important milestone for both Qatar Airways and Cardiff Airport. The new service, our fifth gateway into the U.K., now provides the people of Wales and the South West with an extensive network of more than 150 destinations globally. We are delighted to welcome Cardiff into our route network, and to be able to provide the Welsh people with a new gateway to the world. We look forward to welcoming our new Welsh passengers on board and to connecting them to Doha and many points beyond.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. Alun Cairns, said: “The first direct flight from Cardiff to Qatar plugs Wales straight into an area of massive investment and an airport with 150 onward destinations around the world. This is the fast track for Welsh companies doing business in the Gulf.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of Government activity in public and behind the scenes. The ambition for a daily flight was on the agenda when I met Qatar Airways Chief Executive H.E. Akbar Al Baker more than a year ago at a UK investment summit, and the UK Government has continued to press that case supported by the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence. The UK Government Qatari trade mission last September was all about growing links and unlocking the region for Welsh exports.
“Qatar is the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and accounts for £35 billion of existing investment. Passengers disembarking from the first direct flight from Doha to Cardiff will get the unmistakable message that Wales is open for business.”
The First Minister of Wales, Mr. Carwyn Jones, said: “I am delighted to welcome the first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to our capital city, Cardiff. The new direct service between Cardiff and Doha is a huge boost for Wales. It will open up Wales’ links with the rest of the world and deliver new economic, leisure and travel opportunities for Welsh businesses and the people of Wales.
“Providing a direct route into the world’s fastest growing hub airport, Hamad International Airport, will also bring Wales closer to leading global markets such as India, China, Singapore and Australasia.”
Chairman of Cardiff Airport, Mr. Roger Lewis, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Cardiff Airport, for Wales and the South West of England. The far reaching consequences of this service for passengers and businesses will be transformational. I sincerely thank H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, for the trust he and Qatar Airways are placing in us. I am confident that the team at Cardiff Airport will deliver a world-class service with Qatar Airways for all of our passengers both visiting Wales and those travelling across the world.
“The critically important relationship between Qatar, Wales and the United Kingdom is substantially strengthened today.”
The launch of the new route to Cardiff is Qatar Airways’ first-ever service to Wales, providing passengers enhanced connectivity to the Middle East, Asia and Australia, with seamless connections to Sydney, Hong Kong, China, Melbourne and many more attractive business and leisure destinations.
Qatar Airways currently serves London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh, with service to London Gatwick to commence on 22 May 2018.
The airline last month revealed a raft of forthcoming global destinations in line with its expedited expansion plans, including the announcement that Qatar Airways will be the first Gulf carrier to begin direct service to Luxembourg. Other exciting new destinations to be launched by the airline include Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta;Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum and Antalya, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece and Málaga, Spain.