The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, touched down earlier at Cardiff Airport, where it was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute and greeted by the mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan, 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 chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, was joined by secretary of state for Wales, Alun Cairns, the first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, the United Kingdom ambassador to Qatar, Ajay Sharma, and chairman of Cardiff Airport, 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.
Al Baker said: “Today marks an especially important milestone for both Qatar Airways and Cardiff Airport.
“The new service, our fifth gateway into the UK, 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.”
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 May 22nd.