Qatar Airways has inaugurated the airline’s fourth United Kingdom gateway, with direct flights between Doha and Birmingham connecting the city with more than 150 destinations worldwide.
The inaugural flight touched down at sunrise and was greeted by a traditional water salute witnessed by a crowd of gathered media, while Qatar Airways chief commercial officer Hugh Dunleavy, who travelled on board the inaugural flight with UK ambassador to Qatar, Ajay Sharma, was greeted at the arrival gate by Birmingham Airport chief executive, Paul Kehoe.
The addition of Birmingham marks the fourth UK gateway for Qatar Airways after London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh, with the eight weekly services operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to commence services to Birmingham, our fourth UK gateway.
“This vibrant and economically powerful region represents an important addition to our worldwide network and is a testament to our commitment to the UK Passengers now have access to more than 150 global destinations, accessed via 73 flights per week from the UK, facilitated by smooth transfers through our home and hub, Hamad International Airport.”
Qatar Airways now operates 73 flights per week to the UK, with 42 flights per week to London Heathrow, 16 to Manchester, seven to Edinburgh and eight to Birmingham, from its state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport.
Sharma said: “I was delighted to be able to travel on the inaugural flight from Doha to Birmingham.
“The launch of this new route will open up further opportunities for both Qatar and the UK.
Just like Doha, Birmingham and the surrounding area is host to a number of investment projects and tourist destinations that will appeal to investors and visitors.
“I am certain that this route will successfully enhance the partnership between our two countries.”
A recent survey of 1,000 people from Birmingham and the surrounding region commissioned by Qatar Airways in the United Kingdom showed that 65 per cent of respondents would be more likely to use a local West Midlands airport if it had better long-haul connections.